The Amarak, also written Ngamarak,[1] and now more commonly referred to as the Amurdak,[2] are an indigenous Australian people of the Cobourg Peninsula in the Northern Territory.


The language of the Amarak, Amurdag, is now virtually extinct, the last known speaker being Charlie Mungulda.[3] It was also known as Wardadjbak, and belongs to the Iwaidja language family. It had two dialects, Urrik and Didjurra.[4]


The Amarak's traditional lands extended over some 900 square miles (2,300 km2) around the eastern coast of Van Diemen Gulf. Their northern extend lay beyond Murgenella Creek and in the vicinity of Cooper Creek, while their southern frontier was close to the East Alligator River.[5]


According to the widespread creation story of the Cobourg Peninsula dreamtime, the Amarak (Umoriu) descended from Imberombera deposited who children at a place neer Cooper Creek known as Mamul. One of the children was called Kominuuru, and, on leaving, she told them to speak Amurdag, and an edible bulb called murarowa.[6]

Alternative names

  • Amarag, Amuruk, Amurag, Amurrak
  • Ngamurak, Ngamurag, Nga:mu:rak
  • Umoriu
  • Monobar. (?)[5]
  • A'moordiyu
  • Amardak
  • Amurdag
  • Amurtak
  • Amuruk
  • Mamurug
  • Namurug
  • Umoreo
  • Umorrdak
  • Wardadjbak
  • Woraidbug
  • Wureidbug[2]



    1. Tindale 1974, p. 141.
    2. Amurdak 2018.
    3. Schmid 2007.
    4. Dixon 2002, p. xlii.
    5. Tindale 1974, p. 220.
    6. Spencer 1914, p. 277.


    • Dixon, Robert M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Volume 1. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47378-1.
    • Schmid, Randolph E. (18 September 2007). "Researchers Say Many Languages Are Dying". The Washington Post. Associated Press.
    • Simons, Gary F.; Fennig, Charles D., eds. (2018). "Amurdak". Ethnologue: Languages of the World (21st ed.). Ethnologue.
    • Spencer, Baldwin (1914). Native tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia (PDF). London: Macmillan Publishers.
    • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Amarak (NT)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.
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