Bundjalung Words


It is so wonderful that we have access to Bundjalang language and that we can keep it going by using it in our everyday lives with the names of local animals, plants, places, body parts etc

These words below come from a variety of sources of language groups within the Bundjalung nation….mainly Gidhabal,  Wahlubal and Wehlubal. Before whites came, probably only one dialect was called “Bundjalung” (Origingally “Banjalang” around Evans head and Coraki) and there was no name for the whole language. Even though it was very similar each language group had their own dialect and differences.

Bundjalung Nation was hard hit with the invasion of white culture being on the East Coast. Cultural practices were discouraged and in some cases forbidden. Unfortunately in all of this the local dialects became rarer and rarer to now where only a few can speak it fluently.

Our aim on this page is just to get some info out and share some beautiful words from the surrounding areas. Although spellings and pronunciations will differ in the different groups it is a start to sharing more local culture with all those who are interested.

It is a blessing that some dialects have been recorded and in written form where we can access it still now and teach ourselves and our children these wonderful words of our local country and its people.

In many of these words the n sounds more like a gn together.

Byron Bay was originally called CAVANBAH….which means Meeting Place

JINGI WALA – G’day                                                                                                 WITHA BAYAN – how you going?

DALNAN – Calm, Peaceful, motionless                                                                  NYAN – Eh? What?

JAGI –   Ceremony, secret or sacred                                                                       DANDI – Cuddle, embrace

NANYI – Me                                                                                                                 BUGUN – Love

YOL – Listen                                                                                                                BUGAL – Beautiful

BIHBI – Baby                                                                                                               BUHWI BIRA – Breathe

YANINI – Bring                                                                                                           MAHMAN – Father

MAHMI – Mother                                                                                                       BALABALEH – Helpful Person

MIBILAHM – Sweetheart, Lover                                                                             MUGUL – Lazy, Stubborn

BARIBUN – Dream                                                                                                     GALGALIMAY – Music

NARUYN – Glad, Happy                                                                                             NUNUHYN – Feeling love

NAMUN – Wise                                                                                                            DAGAM – Cloud


JA – Eat                                                                                                                          JUGA – To drink

MANAL -Ready, Ripe, cooked                                                                                  NANAYN – Thirsty

BANGIM – Head                                                                                                          BINAN – Ear

GAM-GAM – Brain                                                                                                      MURU – Nose

MIYI – Eye                                                                                                                     YIBURU – Face

DANGAN – Hand                                                                                                         DUNGAN – Finger

JINAN – Foot                                                                                                                GIRAR – Back

NYALAR – Tears                                                                                                           BUWI – Breath




JUHMBI – Smoke (Fire)


BARUN – Boomerang, hunting or non returning

BARGAN – Boomerang returning



Comments to “Bundjalung Words”

  1. Hi Becci,

    I am not Aboriginal but I live in Bundjalung country out at Bonalbo.

    I have a dingo pup here, found wandering near Tabulam. He is about 4 months old (looking at his baby teeth). I don’t know if he is purebred, but he looks really dingo and howls, not bark. Someone has cared for him, as he is healthy, friendly and loving. If nobody claims him I will keep him. I am trying to think of an Aboriginal name for him. I like Jimbah and Jarrah, but I already have a dog named Jasper and I want a name that sounds different from that, or from my other dogs Echo and Boss. The best dog names are short, so they can easily learn their name. The only suitable name I have is Monti, another name from the NT for Jabiru or black necked stork. Do you have any other suggestions for a boy dingo name?

    Many thanks, Eve

    • Administrator

      Hi Eva, sorry for my late reply.

      The words i have for dingo are Yurginy, Ngura and nguran.

      There are so many beautiful words in Bundjalung, i wouldny know where to start. If you think of some other descriptive words i can look them up.
      Did any one claim him?
      Love Becci
      email me direct at becciz@planetcorroboree.com.au for a more speedy reply :-)


  2. Hi! I’m from the Bundjalung tribe also and in just trying to learn more about my culture as I’m only 13 years old. But my nan and uncle say something like ‘ooroo’ or ‘hooray’ when they are saying goodbye and I’m wondering if it’s an aboriginal word? Thank you :) and if you could tell me any good sites that are helpful with trying to find more about our tribe, or any books. Thank you x

    • Administrator

      Hi, thanks for your message. Around here we say Yoway! which means..be well or bless or seeya etc.
      Oooroo, as far as i know is an aussie slang word, so im not sure its an aboriginal word.
      We have a great cd available has a very extensive variety of language in a dictionary form. Its what we use at Planet Corroboree to reference Bundjalung language. We have a book on the Bundjalung nation called Bundjalung Jugun you can get it on our website. I will put the cd up today so you can have a look and purchase it if you feel. Hope this helps. Becci x


  3. Hi there. I am curious to know if Mullumbimby is actually Banjalang word, and what the translation of it might be.
    Thanks for any help you can provide.


    • Administrator

      Hi Ed, i will look it some more and ask some local mob what they know. In the dictionary this is what i find under Mullumbimby

      malibambay locnm Mullumbimby; also malambimbay; Mullumbimby (a small round hill called by this name). Poss. first vowel should be /u/ – muli- ‘hill’. Mur:Sc5 mullumbimby, mullibumbi; Mur:Sc3/11 Mullumbimby.



  4. Hello
    My family and I are wanting to Name our home/house, we live in Ocean Shores and have beautiful Views of the ocean and Beach but our most favourite view is when the Whales are passing by, we watch for hours and we were thinking of naming the house bundjalung words for “Whale View”.
    Can you please tell us how to write and also how to pronounce “whale view”
    Thank you very much, our children are very excited as this was their idea and my husband and I are very proud of how loving and respectful they are.
    Bec, Luke, Livvy and Jake xxxxxxxx

    • Administrator

      Hello lovely family, sorry for my delay in getting back to you. What ive found that is the closest to what you want is Whale – Wardjam….which is also the same word for shark, magic fish and mermaid :-) and…. to come into view, appear, is ….. bahn-, or baya-
      Good luck and i hope these resonate with you all
      Becci x


      • Thank yo so much, appreciate your time xxxxx


  5. Hi,
    We are looking for a name for a new clinical unit in Byron Bay.
    Is there a word or phrase for ‘Together We Recover’ that u know of please?
    Or perhaps ‘Recovery’ ?
    Or ‘Hope’ ?
    Or ‘Nurture’ ?
    Or ‘Purposeful Life’ ?
    Or ‘Positive Future’ ?
    With thanx,
    Carole =)

    • Administrator

      Hi Carole,
      I haven’t been able to find those exact words or phrases but some other positive words i did find are:

      to shine – yalnan-an-ga
      to….. hope, hear, know, think, consider, smell, sense all go under – gannga
      proud, happy, glad – midjung
      repair, make good – bugalma
      turn, turn into, change – wahngjari
      spiritual blessing or strength – ngudjal
      to search for spiritual blessing and strength – ngudjalba
      to start – mahriri-an.ga
      to live – milbulbu
      turning point – damgur
      emerge, rise, come out – bahn-bahn.ga or bahrwa
      in good health, happy – banyahr
      to encourage – wadji wadji

      Hope this helps



  6. is there a word for thank you?

    • Administrator

      Hi Maggie, im having trouble finding a word for thank you. Its not listed in the dictionary that i have. I have asked a friend who will try and find out for us. I will let you know. Becci


  7. is there a word for thank you?


  8. Hi, I am hoping to start a small business in the next couple of months and was hoping you could help me out with some words that I want to use in the name. I was going to go for Latin but I feel that it would be more appropriate to use a language closer to home. Although I am not Indigenous I respect and admire the connection with the soul of the land that Indigenous culture is built upon, and I would like to incorporate the feeling of that into the ethos of my business, and also the name. Do you know the words for moon, sun, grow/ nurture, heaven, nature, woman and earth? I would really appreciate your help, if you’ve got the time! Thanks :)

    • Administrator

      Hi Grace, i hope i can help you :-)

      moon = Gibam (moonlight) = gibamgir
      sun = Yalgan (suntime, day time etc) = nyanggay sun, day = burgu
      grow = (plants) = Jahna. (grow up …become adult) = Buyuh-wan (Grow up…. grow big) = Jehrwen or Jehrgam-wen (to grow) = berangaa

      nurture = ?
      heaven = ( up in the air ) Buhbarah (Where departed spirits go) = waydjang
      nature = ?
      woman = (young) = wulbung (old) = marang (elderly) = mirunggan (white woman) = yiraligan (dark skinned) = dubay
      earth = (ground..country) Jugan Earth (dirt) Jugul

      Good luck and i hope your name flows to you smoothly


  9. HI, We are looking for a name to submit to council for a small un -named lane in Shelly beach and we wondering if you could suggest a short name relating to the area. It would be good to use a traditional name……….. something like sea or water or shells or sand . Very interesting website. Thank you. Rita Slingsby.

    • Administrator

      Hi Rita, thank you for your message. here are some suggestions taken from “Yugambeh – Bundjalung Dictionary” put together by Margaret C Sharpe. Hope it helps, Becci
      Ocean, open sea = dumgan
      salt water = birin, biren
      salt,= yarung
      water, salty = jamigan
      shell = Bandal
      shells (esp limpets and pippies) = bidjaguny
      sea, beach, coast = burugar
      sea beach = gawgam
      wet sand = gabingaa
      sand, beach = yarang
      beach = julidjwur
      beach, sea = bunbar