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Aboriginal people of South Australia: Adnyamathanha

South Australian Aboriginal people and languages

Adnyamathanha language materials

Periodical articles

To locate journal articles, access the State Library's eResources.

Selected South Australian newspapers, published prior to 1955, have been digitised as part of the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.

Further newspaper articles may be identified by using the following, Newspaper index : references to Aborigines in Adelaide newspapers, 1836-1940, 1989.

Getting started

This guide to sources relating to the Adnyamathanha people was last updated in 2016. It comprises selected material held by the State Library or available online.
To find further material relevant to this topic, try searching with these subject headings in the State Library catalogue:
  • Adnyamathanha (Australian people)
  • Aboriginal Australians - South Australia - Flinders Ranges
Or conduct a keyword search using the following term:
  • Adnyamathanha
See also the Library Guide on the Nepabunna Mission.
For more assistance, talk with staff at the Library's Information Desk or Ask Us.

Background and Resources

The Aboriginal people of the Northern Flinders Ranges at the time of European settlement were the Wailpi, Guyani, Jadliaura and Pilatapa. These four language groups are now collectively referred to as the Adnyamathanha, although some descendants of these groups identify with and maintain their original affiliations. Nepabunna was established by the United Aborigines Mission in 1931 on land donated by Balcoona Station owner Roy Thomas. It was the first permanent home the Adnyamathanha people had known since their displacement from their traditional lands in the early 1850s.

After years of Mission and Government control, Nepabunna was handed back to the Adnyamathanha in 1977. In 2009 the Federal Court recognised that the Adnyamathanha hold Native Title over much of the Ranges, including Nepabunna and its vicinity.

Books and pamphlets

The Adnyamathanha people : Aboriginal people of the Flinders Ranges : an Aboriginal studies course for secondary students, c1992.

Bonney, Neville. Adnyamathanha and beyond : useful plants of an ancient land, 2007.

Brock, Peggy. Outback ghettos : Aborigines, institutionalisation and survival, 1993.

Brock, Peggy. Yura and Udnyu : a history of the Adnyamathanha of the North Flinders Ranges, 1985.

Davis, Christine. Adnyamathanha genealogy, 1985.

Ellis, Julie & Bob. Nepabunna: a brief history, 2011.

Explore the Flinders Ranges, 2014.

The Flinders Ranges : an Aboriginal view, 1986.

Lamshed, Max. 'Monty': the biography of C.P. Mountford, 1972. Ch. 10.

Mountford, Charles P. Women of the Adnjamatana tribe of the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia, 1941.

Neville, Lily. Adnyamathanha Ngawarla, 2007.

Ross, Betty. Minerawuta : Ram Paddock Gate : an historic Adnyamathanha settlement in the Flinders Ranges, South Australia, 1989.

Survival in our own land : 'Aboriginal' experiences in 'South Australia' since 1836. Ch. 28 'Nepabunna', p. 227-234

Tunbridge, Dorothy. Flinders Ranges dreaming, 1988.

Tunbridge, Dorothy. Artefacts of the Flinders Ranges : an illustrated dictionary of artefacts used by the Adnyamathanha, c1985.

Wrightson, Karolyn Kosanke. The fire that brought peace : a spiritual trek at Gum Creek, 1997. 

Listening to songs at Nepabunna

PRG 1218/34/794B, Mountford-Sheard Collection.

The Library holds many photographs relating to this topic, which can be viewed online by searching the Library catalogue.

Mountford-Sheard Collection

This record group comprises a unique collection of material amassed by C. P. Mountford during a career spanning the 1930s to the 1960s and includes material relating to the Adnyamathanha people.

Access to Mountford-Sheard Collection

All access to the Mountford-Sheard Collection is by prior arrangement.

Please consult the catalogue and the list of Mountford's expeditions on this guide to ascertain which parts of the collection you wish to access.

For enquiries contact Ask Us 

If the material that you wish to access is deemed to contain sacred/secret content it cannot be viewed without permission from the relevant Aboriginal community.

Permission will also have to be sought if you wish to copy or publish images that contain Aboriginal people or Aboriginal intellectual property or traditional knowledge.

It is the responsibility of the customer to obtain these permissions.