Students of Baryulgil raise the Aboriginal and Australian flags  at the 100th anniversary of Baryulgil Public School
Students of Baryulgil raise the Aboriginal and Australian flags at the 100th anniversary of Baryulgil Public School Caitlan Charles

GUIDE: Commonly used Indigenous words

LET'S take a look at some of the most commonly used words by Aboriginal people in Australia including the one on the masthead today:

Bunji: Means friend/mate.

Cooee: Is actually a widely used Aboriginal word that is often unknowingly used by non-indigenous people. But luckily they have been using the word correctly as the word means 'come here' in the Dharug language from the southwestern areas of Sydney.

Yidaki: Is the Yolngu name for didgeridoo. Many people believe that the word didgeridoo is actually an Aboriginal word when in fact the word is a made up word that loosely describes the sound that comes out of the oldest wind instrument on the planet.

Yowie: Is one of many words to describe a much feared super-natural being. Other names include hairy man and bungaree. There is even a yowie statue in Kilcoy in southeast Queensland and there are many Australians, both white and black, that swear they still exist deep in Australia's forest to this very day.

Coolamon: Is what we had before plastic containers came along. The multi-purpose curved wooden tray can be used for carrying infants, food, digging and for burning leaves during smoking/cleansing ceremonies.

Woomera: Is one of the Aborigines' most fascinating inventions. A woomera is a spear thrower. It lays between the end of a spear and your hand. The woomera acts as a lever that propels the spear at an incredible speed. A woomera and spear are so fast that they were actually the fastest weapon before the existence of the rifle.

Nulla Nulla: Also known as a deadly 7 or a hunting boomerang, it is a long, carved piece of wood that is shaped like the number 7. It is a versatile war club that flies aerodynamically through at high speed usually with the intention of killing it's target. They can be shaped with flat heads as pictured or with a rounded head.

Canberra: Is the capital of Australia and if you read our recent article of the biggest Aboriginal named cities in Australia you would know that Canberra came in at number 1. We think it would be great if every Australian knew the meaning. Canberra is actually the word for 'meeting place' in the local Ngunnawal language.

Marlu: There are many different Aboriginal words for kangaroo (including the word kangaroo) but the one that always sticks in my mind is marlu. Marlu comes from the Warlpiri language group in central Australia.

Deadly: Is not an Aboriginal word (Irish) however it has taken its own meaning among Aboriginal society. Deadly to Aboriginal people means excellent/amazing/really good. This can be quite confusing to non-Aboriginal people who might witness someone's artwork being described as deadly.

Source: www.welcometocountry.org



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