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The People and their Traditional Country

Burduna people live in the Ashburton-Gascoyne region in the south of the Pilbara. Many people now live in Onslow and Carnarvon and have intermarried with other language groups. A language inventory in 1994 identifies no remaining speakers of the language. Many people of Burduna heritage speak some words or phrases but the language is considered to be extinct.


Burduna was spoken around Nyang and Maroonah Stations in the Ashburton-Gascoyne region of the Pilbara in Western Australia, Traditional country was around the Yannarie River and Lyndon River area. The area in and around Towera Station is spoken of as being traditional Burduna country as well.


Austin identified two elderly speakers in the late 1980s. Today there are a few people who can still recognise and use small amounts of the language, living in Onslow.


Language Resources and Recordings

Wangka Maya Language Centre has conducted extensive research with remaining Burduna people and produced the Burduna Dictionary 2007 and Burduna Interactive Dictionary 2007. The dictionary can also be seen on line as a Dictionary e-Book.


Language Information

Burduna language is classified as being of the Pama-Nyungan, South West, group of languages (nyungic). It is of the Kanyara family of languages and related to Thalanyji, Bayungu and Binigura languages.


Burduna has been spelt as Purduna, Boodoona and Buruna in the past.


Austin produced a wordlist of Burduna words in 1992, Klokeid recorded some language in 1967, O’Grady recorded Burduna in 1961. Austin transcribed and translated songs in 1976 and 1985. A small grammar was written by Austin in 1976. The earliest recordings were done by Daisy Bates in 1904


The floodplains of the Yannarie River. (Photo by Eleonora Deak)

Written example of the Language


Gudu baabaarri ngii, ngii Burduna.

Don’t forget that you are Burduna.


Baba ngathana wanthan.

Give me water.


Wardira ngayangu ngaya bajarnu.

I left my woman.


Banyubaju yinha piginis.

This is a very good picnic.


Juri baldhani, bala marrgura.

He is my brother.


Ngaya manyarrarri burnayi.

My back hurts.


Ngii buni wurruwawura thawuru gayiluu.

You go to the soak to get water.