Bundjalung people

The Bundjalung people (also known as Bunjalung, Badjalang and Bandjalang) are Aboriginal Australians who are the original custodians of the northern coastal area of New South Wales (Australia), located approximately 550 kilometres (340 mi) northeast of Sydney, an area that includes the Bundjalung National Park.

Bundjalung people
Aka: Badjalang (Tindale)(Horton)
Bandjalang (SIL)
South Eastern Queensland bioregion
Language family:Pama–Nyungan
Language branch:Bandjalangic
Language group:Bundjalung
Group dialects:
Area (approx. 6,000 sq. km)
Coordinates:29°15′S 152°55′E
Rivers[4]Lower reaches of
Other geological:Cape Byron
Urban areas:[4]

Bundjalung people all share descent from ancestors who once spoke as their first, preferred language one or more of the dialects of the Lower-Richmond branch of the Yugambeh-Bundjalung language family

The Arakwal of Byron Bay count themselves as one of the Bundjalung peoples.[1]


Bundjalung is a Pama-Nyungan language. It has two unusual features: certain syllables are strongly stressed while others are "slurred", and it classifies gender into four classes: (a) masculine (b) feminine (c) arboreal and (d) neuter.[6]


According to Norman Tindale, Bundjalung tribal lands encompassed roughly 2,300 square miles (6,000 km2), from the northern side of the Clarence River to the Richmond River, including Ballina with their inland extension running to Tabulam and Baryugil. The coastal Widje horde ventured no further than Rappville.[4]

Initiation ceremony

According to R. H. Mathews, the Bundjalung rite of transition into manhood began with a cleared space called a walloonggurra some distance from the main camp. On the evening the novices are taken from their mothers around dusk, the men sing their way to this bora ground where a small bullroarer (dhalguñgwn) is whirled.[7]

Musical instruments

The Bundjalung used a variety of instruments including blowing on a eucalyptus leaf, creating a bird-like sound. Clapsticks were used to establish a drumbeat rhythm on ceremonial dancing occasions. Emu callers (short didgeridoos about 30 cm long) were traditionally used by the Bundjalung when hunting (Eastern Australia Coastal Emus). When striking the emu-caller at one end with the open palm it sounds like an emu. This decoy attracts the bird out of the bush making it an easy prey.

Alternative names

  • Badjelang. (paidjal/badjal means "man")
  • Budulung
  • Buggul
  • Paikalyung, Paikalyug
  • Bandjalang, Bandjalong
  • Bunjellung
  • Bundela, Bundel
  • Widje. (clan or clans at Evans Head)
  • Watchee
  • Woomargou[4]

See also



    1. Bunjalung of Byron Bay 2001.
    2. Sharpe 1994.
    3. Bandjalang at Ethnologue (20th ed., 2017)
    4. Tindale 1974, p. 191.
    5. Hoff 2006.
    6. Sharpe 1993, p. 76.
    7. Mathews 1900, pp. 67–73,67.


    This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.