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The Ngaiawang were an indigenous Australian people of South Australia. They are now considered extinct.


Ngaiawang belonged to the Lower Murray language branch of the Pama–Nyungan family.


The Ngaiawang lived in an area of some 2,400 sq. miles ranging along the Murray River from Herman Landing to Penn Reach. The western boundary was formed by the scarp of the Mount Lofty Ranges. To the south, the tribal territory ended at Ngautngaut (Devon Downs Rock-shelter), the first area to be subject to archaeological excavation (by Norman Tindale and Hale and was the first formal archaeological excavation undertaken in Australia.[1]


The Ngaiawang consisted of some 10 hordes, among which were the Molo people. They did not practice circumcision and were derided for this by the Kaurna, whose derogative exonym for them, Paruru, meant 'uncircumcized' or 'animal'.[1]


The first recorded encounter of the Ngaiawang with Europeans occurred when the explorer Edward John Eyre came across them at Lake Bonney.[1]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Ngaijawa, Ngaiyawa.
  • Ngaiawung.
  • Ngaiyau
  • Naiawu (This is a language name); Niawoo
  • Aiawung, Aiawong (Given be Eyre, who, according to Tindale, was tone deaf to initial ng sound).
  • Iawung.
  • Nggauaiyo-wangko.
  • Wakanuwan (name applied by the Jarildekald to this, the Nganguruku, and other tribes; they called the language Walkalde).
  • Karn-brikolenbola (horde at Moorunde).
  • Birta (Kaurna and Ngadjuri term)
  • Pijita, Pitta, Pieta, Peeita.
  • Meru (term for man).
  • Murundi (Jarildekald term for the Murray River upriver from Lake Alexandrina and place name south of Blanchetown).
  • Moorunde, Moorundee, Moorundie.
  • Paruru (Kaurna term meaning 'uncircumcised' ( also 'animal') to denote the Ngaiawang and other Murray River tribes.[1]




  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Ngaiawang (SA)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.