Finding the meaning of an Aboriginal word

A guide which steps you through the process of finding the English meaning of an Aboriginal word.


Aboriginal languages of Australia: this site has links to over 80 languages, classifying resources according to languages, location and types of resource.

AIATSIS holds the world's largest collection dedicated to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories.

Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages includes an online language enquiry form and a library you can visit in person. It houses materials from various sources all related to indigenous languages.

Rediscovering Indigenous Languages is a site developed by the State Library of New South Wales which includes historic word lists, records and an easy to use map of Australia which pinpoints a language group's location.

Language and people's theasarus: Presented by Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), this site includes maps, words lists and theasuari.

Indigenous Language Resources Victoria: a guide to Aboriginal language resources at the National Library of Australia.

Wathawurrung Colac language of southern Victoria: notes on the Wathawurrung Colac language of southern Victoria.


Flora and fauna

Aboriginal Flora and Fauna Names of Victoria: As extracted from early surveyors’ reports

Published in 2001 by Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages.

Some Keerraywoorroong words

kalat = sister

peepay = father

ngeerrang = mother

koko = brother

The Keerraywoorroong language is from the South/West districts of Victoria.

Source: A dictionary of Keerraywoorroong and related dialects


Please note that the Victorian Aboriginal Corporations for Languages advises: 'If you would like to use Indigenous words to name a public place, facility or program it is protocol to use words from the Indigenous language of the land where the place to be named stands, or where the program is run. It is then appropriate to seek permission from the Traditional Owners of that language area to use their words in the name.'

State Library Victoria

Note - we have just upgraded our Library catalogue and are updating some links on our guides.

As we do this some catalogue links may not resolve correctly.


First languages

'First Languages Australia is working toward a future where Aboriginal language communities and Torres Strait Islander language communities have full command of their languages and can use them as much as they wish to.'

Books from the catalogue