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Aboriginal people of South Australia: Arabana

South Australian Aboriginal people and languages


Arabana Aboriginal Corporation.

Arabana Native Title

Keepers of Lake Eyre - archived website via Pandora

Bangarra Dance company presents Terrain, inspired by Arabunna connection to Kati Thanda / Lake Eyre.

Language materials

Mobile Language Team. Arabana-Arabunna.

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.  

ANU publications - Arabana-Wangkangurru language and grammar

This guide to sources relating to the Arabana (Arabunna, or Urabunna) people was last updated in 2023. 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.

Arabana Wangka Community Workshop. Ari Finniss-inga minhathirnda = what we do at Finnis, 2019. 

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.

Dodd, Reg and McKinnon, Malcolm. Talking sideways : stories and conversations from Finniss Springs, 2019. 

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.

Strangways, Thanthi Syd. Yarnin' with grandpa : stories from my life on Arabana Country, 2021.

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.

Wells, Linda. Living in tin : the bungalow, Alice Springs 1914-1929, 2023.

Lake Eyre South

Lake Eyre South, 2005. B 70334/1

This image is in copyright.

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 contemporary newspaper and 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.