Wirangu is a language associated with the far west coast of South Australia. Wirangu is historically spoken on this area of the coast, and there are similarities between present day Wirangu and Kokatha, a Western Desert language which is spoken nearby. Wirangu is a part of the language group Thura-Yura, which is a name given to languages around the Spencer Gulf area. Today, Wirangu people live along the coast in places like Ceduna, Yalata, Koonibba, Port Lincoln, Port Augusta, and Adelaide, as well as in other areas of South Australia.

There are many published materials and projects surrounding the Wirangu language. For example, Wirangu woman Gladys Miller has worked with linguists to produce a 'Learner’s Guide to Wirangu', a Wirangu picture dictionary, and the book 'Wardugu Wirn'. This last publication is a story book about going hunting for wombat, which is an important cultural activity for Wirangu people. A grammar of Wirangu was also published by the linguist Luise Hercus in 1999.

AIATSIS id : C.01


Kartawongulta (from gurdu ‘man’ and wonggadha ‘spoken’), Hilleri, Yilrea (from Parnkalla Ilari ‘strange, unknown’), Jilbara (from Kukata word Yulparira meaning 'south'), Julbari woŋga, Ulbarara, Youlbara, Yulbara, Yulbara wonga, Naljara (Kokata name), Ngadha wangga (literally ‘I speech’ or the people who use the word ngudhu for ‘I’), Ngadu wongga, Ngoleiadjara (name applied by Jangkundjara), Nhangga (meaning ‘man’), Njangga, Nonga, Nyangga, Tidni, Tidnie, Titnie (from Kuyani word Thidni meaning ‘remote’, ‘far distant’), Wambira, Wanbiri ('sea coast'), Warna-biri, Womberry, Wombyra, Wonbil, Wonburi (uncertain who this term refers to), Wangon (from ‘wanggarn’ meaning ‘to speak’), Warrangoo, Weerung, Wirangga, Wirangu (used by SIL & AIATSIS), Wirongu (used by Bates), Wirongguwongga, Wirrangu, Wirrongu, Wirrung, Wirrunga (meaning ‘sky talk’), Wilyaru (from the name for a higher initiation ceremony), Willeuroo, Willuro, Windakan (name applied also to the language of the Ngalea).

NOTE: There has been some confusion in the past due to some language recorders thinking that Wirangu is part of the Western Desert group, which makes it difficult to correctly identify Wirangu sources accurately. Many of the above names are the same as Nawu language names.

  • Wirangu people honour Dr Luise Hercus in Canberra

    Two Wirangu people travelled to Canberra in May 2012 to undertake archival research training at AIATSIS, provided by Dr Paul Monaghan (MLT), and to meet Luise Hercus. This trip was sponsored by the Mobile…

Preservation of the Wirangu Language 2005-2006

Conducted by Tjutjunaku Worka Tjuta Inc, the aims of this project were to: employ a linguist to assist in the recording and transcribing of the Wirangu language, prepare an electronic…

Raising Language Awareness for West Coast Aboriginal Languages

Conducted by Tjutjunaku Worka Tjuta Inc in 2006-2007, the aims of this project were to: hold forums and produce a booklet about the language history of the west coast of SA, the Indigenous…

Wirangu Language Revival 2007-2008

Co-ordination of West Coast Indigenous Languages 2008-2009

Conducted by Tjutjunaku Worka Tjuta Inc, the aims of this project were to: provide a base that ensures the participation of community members in language activities, and facilitate…

West Coast Aboriginal Languages Project

Conducted by Tjutjunaku Worka Tjuta Inc in 2009-2010, the aims of this project were to: produce resources and provide training to support the revival of the Wirangu language.

West Coast Aboriginal Languages Project

Conducted by Tjutjunaku Worka Tjuta Inc in 2010-2011, the aims of this project were to: document and promote community use of three critically endangered Indigenous languages of the…

Language Contact

Estelle Miller
Far West Language Centre
Ceduna, 5690
(08) 8625 3785

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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.