The Yukul, also written Jukul, were an indigenous Australian people of the Northern Territory.


Little has been salvaged of the Yukul language, since it was never studied: no examples of their speech that would allow grammatical analysis exist, and only a few words were taken down. Though believed to be similar to Alawa and Marra, there is no evidence for such an inference.[1] Most of the younger generation now speak a variety of kriol.[2]


Yukul lands covered an estimated 600 sq.miles. on the southern bank of the Roper River at the mouth of the Hogson River and around Leichhardt Bar (Urapunga). Their northern boundary lay around Mount Favenc.[3]

Social organization

A brief description of their class divisions was given by R. H. Mathews in 1900.[4]


A massive land seizure in the densely populated Gulf Country started in 1881, with 14 colonial landholders taking up stations that averaged some 16,000 sq.kilometres each. Within the following 3 decades an estimated 600 indigenous people were shot down to make way for the cattle and sheep pastured on these runs.[5] A Church Mission was established at Ngukurr in 1908 to take in the remnants of decimated tribes.[2]

Recent times

Many Yukul now live at Ngukurr.[2]

Alternative names

  • Yukul.
  • Jokul.
  • Yikil, Yookil, Yookull.
  • Yookala.
  • Yikul.[3]



    1. Sharpe 2008, p. 62.
    2. Adone 2003, p. 92.
    3. Tindale 1974, p. 227.
    4. Mathews 1900, pp. 130–131.
    5. Roberts 2009.


    • Adone, Dany (2003). "Restricted Verb Movement in Ngukurr kriol". In Adone, Dany (ed.). Recent Development in Creole Studies. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 91–108. ISBN 978-3-110-94831-8.
    • Mathews, R. H. (1900). "Marriage and descent among the Australian aborigines". Journal of the Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. Sydney. 34: 120–135.
    • Roberts, Tony (November 2009). "The brutal truth: What happened in the gulf country The Monthly Essays November". The Monthly.
    • Sharpe, Margaret (2008). "Alawa and Its Neighbours: Enigma Variations 1 and 2". In Bowern, Claire; Evans, Bethwyn; Miceli, Luisa (eds.). Morphology and Language History: In honour of Harold Koch. John Benjamins Publishing. pp. 59–70. ISBN 978-3-110-27977-1.
    • Spencer, Baldwin (1914). Native tribes of the Northern Territory of Australia (PDF). London: Macmillan Publishers.
    • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Jukul (NT)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University.
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