The Puneitja (Buneidja) were an indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory.


In the dreamtime legends of this area, a woman, Imberombera and a man, Wuraka, are foundational figures. Both came, serparately, to the mainland by walking southwards across the sea, and Imberombera landed at Malay Bay (Wungaran). Both originally spoke Iwaidja. She encounter Wuraka and wished him to accompany her, but Wuraka, tired by the burden of his heavy penis, which he carried slung over his shoulder, demurred. Imerombera pressed on, heavily pregnant, and on her journey, left spirit children at various points, together with yams, or cyprus bulbs or bamboo, and chanted the language to be spoken in each area. In what became Puneitja ground, she said: Puneitja ngeinyimma tjikaru, gnoro Jaijipali, the first word indicating the language.[1]


In Tindale's calculations, the Puneitja's territorial lands covered some 900 square miles (2,300 km2) on the western side of the South Alligator River, running approximately 50 miles inland and along Coirwong Creek. Ronald and Catherine Berndt also placed them at the headwaters of the East Alligator River, a view queried by Tindale, who thought this located them beyond their eastern boundaries.[2]

Alternative names

  • Peneitja
  • Baneidja
  • Bani:dja
  • Buneidja
  • Banidja
  • Minnitji
  • Punuurlu
  • Punaka[2]



    1. Spencer 1914, pp. 274–276.
    2. Tindale 1974, p. 235.


    • Eylmann, Erhard (1908). Die Eingeborenen der Kolonie Südaustralien (PDF). Berlin: D.Reimer.
    • Spencer, Baldwin (1914). Native tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia (PDF). London: Macmillan Publishers.
    • Spencer, Baldwin (1928). Wanderings in wild Australia (PDF). London: Macmillan Publishers.
    • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Puneitja (NT)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University.

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