Nyoongar Words and Definitions

For thousands of years Aboriginal people have been visiting Mooro Katta or Kaarta Gar-up, two of the many names for Mount Eliza, the highest point of Kings Park.

Nyoongar is the generic term for Indigenous people of the southwest of Western Australia. The area at the base of Kings Park, known as Goonininup, was an important ceremonial and dreaming area for Aboriginal males.

Did you know there are over 14 dialects through Nyoongar country or that many Perth suburbs are named after Nyoongar words? Balcatta, Gwelup, Innaloo, Karrinyup, Mundaring, Yanchep... just to name a few!

Balga
(bal-gah) native grass tree, Xanthorrea preissii
Bardy
(baar-dee) witchetty grub
Beedawong
(bee-du-wong) meeting place
Beeliar
(beel-i-yar) traditional name for the Swan River
Bibool
(bib-ool) native Paperbark tree with many uses
Birok
(bi-rok) Aboriginal season of the young in December and January
Bidi
(bi-di) trail
Boodja
(bu-dj-ah) the land
Boodja Gnarning
(bu-dj-ah nar-ning) food from the land
Boyur
(boi-er) Woolly Bush, Adenanthos sericeus
Bunuru
(bu-noo-roo) Aboriginal season of the adolescence in February and March
Chunyart
(chune-yart) twenty-eight parrot
Coolamons
(cool-a-mons) bowl
Corrobooree
(ker-rob-o-ree) traditional dance
Derbal Yargan
(der-bul yeri-gun) Swan River
Djeran
(ji-run) Aboriginal season of adulthood in April and May
Djilba
(jil-bah) Aboriginal season of conception in August and September
Djiridji
(jer-i-gee) Zamia, Macrozamia fraseri
Djitti djitti
(jitty-jitty) Willie wagtail, Rhipidura leucophrys
Dowak
(doe-whack) clubs
Gija Jumulu
(gi-dja joo-ma-loo) boab from the Gija people in the Kimberley region
Gidji
(gid-gee) spear points
Goomal
(goo-mahl) Common Brushtail Possum, Trichosurus vulpecula
Goonininup
(gu-nin-in-up) fresh water spring at the base of Mt Eliza
Jarrah
(jah-ruh) Eucalyptus marginata
Kaarta Gar-up
(car-tah-gaar-up) traditional name for the distinctive cliff/scarp around Kings Park
Kaarta Koomba
(car-tah-kum-bah) traditional name for Kings Park; Kaarta meaning hill or headland and Koomba meaning big
Kambarang
(cam-bah-rang) Aboriginal season of birth in October and November
Kardar
(car-duh) Gould's Monitor Lizard, Varanus gouldii
Karri
(ka-ree) Eucalyptus diversicolor
Karla
(car-lah) fire, campfire
Kattidj
(cad-itch) your knowledge
Katitjin
(cut-a-gin) knowledge, traditional knowledge handed down from one generation to the next
Keitch
(k-each) spear
Kerbein
(ker-bin) Coastal Sword Sedge, Lepidosperma gladiatum
Kodja
(cod-jah) traditional axe made from stone and wood
Koora Koora
(coo-rah) long time ago, the past
Kondil
(con-dill) native Sheoak tree, Allocasuarina fraseriana, good for making kylee (boomerangs).
Koolah
(coo-lah) Native Plum, Podocarpus drouyianus
Kooyamulyup
(koo-ya-mull-up) place of frogs and Men's area
Kulbardi
(cool-bar-dee) Magpie, Gymnorhina tibiceri
Kulunga
(koo-lun-gah) children
Kulunga Katitjin
(koo-lun-gah kat-i-jin) children's learning
Kwonnat
(kwon-at) Black Wattle, Acacia saligna
Kylee
(keer-lee) boomerang
Maarm (Maam)
(maarm) man/men
Makuru
(ma-koo-roo) Aboriginal season of fertility in June and July
Marri
(m-a-ree) the red gum, Medicine Tree, Corymbia calophylla
Mayat
(my-yat) red gum from the Marri tree, used to help cuts heal
Meero
(mih-ro) spear thrower
Mia-mia
(my-yah, my-yah) traditional temporary huts
Moonah
(moo-nah) Rottnest Island Tea Tree, Melaleuca lanceolata
Moora Katta
(mur-ah-cart-ah) the place that we now know as Kings Park
Mudja
(mud-jah) Christmas Tree, Nuytsia floribunda
Mungitch
(mun-gitch) Banksia, Torchlight tree
Ngolark
(go-lark) White-tailed Black Cockatoo, Calyptorhynchus latirostris
Nyoongar
(nyoo-ngah) first people from south-west Western Australia
Poolgarla
(pool-gah-la) Bull Banksia (Banksia grandis)
Teagul
(tea -gull) duck *also Yeaderup
Tuart
(tew-art) native Eucalypt tree used for making tools and other implements
Uilarac
(ill-a-rac) Sandalwood, Santalum spicatum
Warrdong (Wardong)
(wor-dong) crow, Australian Raven, Corvus coronoides
Wadjuk Nyoongar
(wod-juck, nyoong-ar) (also spelt Whadjuk) Nyoongar group from Perth and surrounding regions
Waitch
(waytch) emu
Wandoo
(won-doo) Eucalyptus wandoo
Wanju
(won-dew) welcome
Wanna borna
(woh-nah bor-na) digging stick
Waugal
(wah-gool) rainbow serpent from the dreamtime
Wonil (Wonnil)
(wun-ill) Peppermint Tree, Agonis flexuosa, native to the Swan Coastal Plain
Wuanga
(woo-unga) Wattle, Acacia
Yeaderup
(yee-der-up) duck *also Teagul
Yonga (Yongar)
(yon-gah) kangaroo
Yonga Booka
(yong-gah book-a) kangaroo skin cloak
Yonga Waarnginy
(yong-gah ) Kangaroo Story
Yongra
(yon-grah) kangaroos
Yorga
(yor-gah) woman
Yorgra
(yor-grah) women
Yorkas Nyinning
(yor-kis nin-ing) place of rest for women