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Aboriginal people of South Australia: Arabana

South Australian Aboriginal people and languages

Language materials

Mobile Language Team. Arabana.

Wilson, Greg and Hercus, Luise A. Arabana, years R to 10 : an Arabana teaching framework for reception to year ten....,2004.   

Hercus, Luise A. A grammar of the Arabana-Wangkangurru language Lake Eyre Basin, South Australia, 1994.  Held at Flinders University - Not available at SLSA.  

Getting started

This guide to sources relating to the Arabana (Arabunna, or Urabunna) 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:

Arabana (Australian people)
Aboriginal Australians - South Australia - (Geographic location)

Or conduct a keyword search using the following term:


For more assistance, talk with staff at the Library's Information Desk or Ask Us.

Background and resources

The Arabana people are associated with the far north of South Australia and are the Traditional Owners of the Lake Eyre Region (Kati-Thanda). Their neighbours are the Kokatha, Antakirinja and Dieri nations.

Comprehensive sources

Aboriginal History. v. 13, no. 1-2, 1989, p. 80-93. Dodd, Reg and Gibson, Jen. 'Learning times: an experience of Arabana life and mission education'.

Arabana Elders and Arbon, Veronica. Wathili family, Wibma stories, Wadlhu country, 2010.

Buzzacott, Kevin. Lake Eyre is calling: Ankaku for life, 2002.

Davis, Stephen. Current Aboriginal traditional interests in the Lake Eyre South Region of South Australia. 1993.

Hercus, Luise. The story of Gudnanamba, 1980.

Litchfield, Lois. Marree and the tracks beyond in black and white: commemorating the centenary of Marree, 1883-1983, 1983.

Mound Springs heritage survey : data sheets for European settlement assessment of South Australian Mound Springs, 1986.

Oceania. vol. 42, no. 2, Dec 1971. Hercus, Luise. 'Arabana and Wanganguru traditions'.

Paterson, Alistair. The lost legions : culture contact in colonial Australia, c2008.

Reader, Paul. The heritage of the Antikirinya, Arabana and South Aranda land., 198?

Shaw, Bruce. Our heart is the land: Aboriginal reminiscences from the Western Lake Eyre Basin, 1995.

Shaw, Bruce and Gibson, Jen. Invasion and succession: an aboriginal history of the Oodnadatta region, 1988.

Spencer, Baldwin and Gillen, F. J. The native tribes of central Australia, 1969. Also available online.  

Spencer, Baldwin and Gillen, F.J. Across Australia, 1912.

Wangkanyi : aboriginal recollections of Oodnadatta, 1987.

Wood, Jean and Arbon, Veronica. My stories, 2010.

Some relevant content

Aboriginal History. vol. 1, no. 1, 1980, Hercus, Luise. 'Tales of Ngadu-dagli (Rib-bone Billy)'.

Aboriginal history of the Western Lake Eyre Basin: Oodnadatta oral history interview tape transcripts, 1996.

Dallwitz, John and Fazio, Daniel. White to black: Oodnadatta School 1892-1992, 1992.

Donovan, Val and Wall, Colleen (eds). Making connections : a journey along Central Australian Aboriginal trading routes, 2004.

Gibson, Jen and Shaw, Bruce. Oodnadatta Aboriginal heritage survey: Final report 1985-86, 1987.

Gibson, Jen. Some Oodnadatta genealogies 1988, 1988.

Johnston, T. Harvey. Aboriginal names and utilization of the fauna in the Eyrean region, 1943.

Lake Eyre South

Lake Eyre South, 2005. B 70334/1

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Audio-visual material

Dunjiba Community Oodnadatta Oral History Project. (Some relevant content)

Federal Court awards native title over Lake Eyre. ABC News online and The World Today report (audio), 2012.

Interview with Reg Dodd. Interviewer: Catherine Murphy, 1998.

We of little voice, Ronin Films, 2002.

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.