Welcome to Country for Brisbane

In 2014 the Cultural Heritage Unit at the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs  via Arts Queensland have acknowledges the Turrbal people as the sole group registered native title claim for the Brisbane area.

The Turrbal are therefore recognised to manage country under the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act 2003.


Essentially this means that Welcome to Country should now be undertaken by a representative or approved spokesperson for the Turrbal people.


It also means that our acknowledgement of the traditional owners should either:

  1. Just refer to the Turrbul people
  2. Refer more generally to the peoples of South East Queensland (I am sourcing a list).

Alternative spellings for Brisbane Aboriginal People

Due to the nature of the language on location can have a variety of names.  This is important know for researching purposes. For the Brisbane area the below can be mentioned.


Yugerra, Yagara, Yaggara, Yugg-ari, Yackarabul, Turubul, Turrabal, Turrubul, Turrabal, Terabul, Torbul, Turibul,, Toorbal, Yerongban, Yeronghan, Ugarapul, Yerongpan, Biriin., Ninghi, Ningy Ningy, Duke of York Clan, Jaarabal, Jergarbal,


Maginnchin Name of Brisbane

Maginnchin (“Meanjin” is the Stradbroke Island pronunciation according to Meston).- the name of much of the Brisbane city area – but specifically the area from Petrie’s Bight to Garden Point (Petrie 1904) - signified “spike” – presumably a reference to the general shape of this bend in the river, although it has also been specifically attributed to the shape of one of the inlets – possibly, to judge from early maps, from one of the former creeks, or even the inlet of Petrie’s Bight (Sydney May, Meanings of Queensland Place Names, Local Government Nov 1957, p. 50).

Brisbane City: Indigenous Heritage Dr Ray Kerkhove 2013

Please note that I had just noticed that Enoggera was meant to be "sing play, or song and dance" not "Sticky Soil", therefore I suggest you create your own map.

Sign into Google Map Maker and the names and meaning of Brisbane suburbs.


Watson's book is online at the State Library of Queensland. http://hdl.handle.net/10462/comp/1640

The last page has an index to names and pages they are located on...


Children mostly ask if you can speak the Aboriginal Language. 

What I had done was to create a map on Aboriginal Suburb Names from the

Watson F. J. (1946) Vocabularies of four representative tribes of South Eastern Queensland book. To show that the language is used daily through the naming of suburbs.

Click on the map and they a zoom in bar will open.

Note that the meaning is short for the suburb in my maps.  For example the suburb Nudgee has "Place of Black Duck". While in Watson it states "Nudgee (YI.) - A corruption of nar'-dha, meaning "Place of Black Ducks" from nar, the so-called black duck, and dha, place, qv. dhagun. ".


Watson F. J. (1946) Vocabularies of four representative tribes of South Eastern Queensland. http://hdl.handle.net/10462/comp/1640

Hardcastle, T., A Vocabulary of the Yuggarabul Language: spoken in the Boonah District, Queensland Geographical Journal Vol. 51, 1947-8, pp 21-28

Hardcastle, Thos. W.,   A vocabulary of the language of the Aborigines of the Boonah District

Lauterer, J., An Aboriginal Language’, The Queenslander, 21 March 1891, pp 555

Ford, Roger & Blake, Thom. Indigenous peoples of southeast Queensland: an annotated guide to ethno-historical sources, 1998

Petrie, Constance Campbell,. Tom Petrie's reminiscences of early Queensland (dating from 1837

Steele, J.G., Aboriginal pathways: in southeast Queensland and the Richmond River

Roth, W.E., The Queensland Aborigines

Fisher, Rod. , Brisbane: the Aboriginal presence, 1824-1860

Smith, Hazel M., & Bid, Ellen. H., Look forward, not back: Aborigines in metropolitan Brisbane, 1965-1966.

Colliver, F.S. & Woolston, F.P., Aboriginals in the Brisbane

Brown, Jill W., etc. Aboriginals and Islanders in Brisbane: research report

Dept. of Social Work, Aboriginals and islanders in Brisbane : a survey undertaken for the Australian Government Commission of Enquiry into Poverty researched by University of Queensland.

Symon, Pat, Bush heritage ; an introduction to the history of plant and animal use by Aboriginal people and colonists in the Brisbane and Sunshine Coast areas, 1996

Aird, M., Portrait of our Elders, 1993

Aird, M., Brisbane Blacks, 2001

Aird, M, I know a few words, 1996

Holmer, Nils M. (Nils Magnus) Linguistic survey of south-eastern Queensland

Tutt, Stan  From spear & musket 1879-1979 : Caboolture centenary (1979)

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