Arabana (Arabunna)

Arabana language is traditionally associated with the western Lake Eyre region. It shares many features with other Lakes languages. Arabana people were heavily impacted by pastoralism and major colonial infrastructure developments such as the Australian Overland Telegraph Line (1872) and the railway line linking Adelaide and Oodnadatta (opened in 1891, and later extended to Alice Springs in 1929).

Information about classical Arabana society was recorded by Spencer & Gillen (1899). Detailed linguistic recording was not done until the 1960s and later published by Luise Hercus (1994). Greg Wilson also undertook considerable research in the 2000's with Arabana people to develop an Arabana teaching and learning curriculum.

In 1994 'A Grammar of the Arabana-Wangkangurru Language' was published by Luise Hercus. It is available for download here and via Pacific Linguistics out of print archive.

Currently, the Mobile Language Team in association with the Arabana Peoples Committee is developing online language learning resources to service contemporary Arabana peoples.

Today, most Arabana people live off-country in centres as widespread as: Adelaide, Pt Augusta, Marree, Coober Pedy, Oodnadatta, Alice Springs and Darwin.



As the first step in a pilot program the Mobile Language Team in cooperation with the Arabana People's Committee are preparing online resources to hear and read Arabana words and sentences. Follow the link below to hear the first sample of this program. In the coming months a series of more comprehensive lessons and modules will be published to give people the chance to begin to learn to speak Arabana.

The Mobile Language Team and the Arabana People's Committee would like to acknowledge the speakers used in these recordings and advise these pages may contain audio and images of deceased people. We also acknowledge the significant contribution made through both written and oral recordings of the Arabana language made over many years by Dr Luise Hercus and Greg Wilson. 


AIATSIS id : L.13

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Anna Creek tribe (a group), Arabana (used by AIATSIS & SIL), Arabuna, Arapani, Arapina (Iliaura is a modern pronunciation), Arebana, Arrabonna, Arrabunna, Arubbinna, Jendakarangu (a group near Coward Springs), Ngarabana, Nulla, Peake tribe (a group), Rabuna (an aberrant Aranda pronunciation), Urabuna, Urabunna, Urapuna, Urroban, Wangarabana ( = talk or speech), Wangarabuna, Wangarabunna, Wongkurapuna, Wongpurapuna, Wonkurabana, Yendakarangu.

We apologise, there is no information available at this time

Arabunna Language program at Marree Aboriginal School

Maree Aboriginal School runs an Arabunna language revitalisation program

Arabunna Language program at Augusta Park Primary School

Augusta Park Primary School runs an Arabunna language revitalisation program

Language Contact

The current contact person for language is:
Dr Veronica Arbon
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The above map is based upon the Horton Indigenous Map of Australia © Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, and Auslig/Sinclair, Knight, Merz, 1996. The full map is available on the AIATSIS website. The locations of the languages of SA, as stated on the this website are not intended for Land Claim use, and are an approximate guide only. Individual language project locations are based on information from publicly available MILR (ILS) documents.