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William Blandowski's 1857 depiction of people at the junction of the Murray-Darling Rivers including men hunting, women cooking and children playing. A form of kick and catch football is apparently being played in the background.[1]

Jarijari were an indigenous Australian people whose traditional territory was located in the Mallee region of Victoria.


Jarijari was the tribe's word for "no", it being customary for the Murray tribes of this area to be identified by the negative used in their respective languages.[2]


Jarijari language is classified as belonging to the Lower Murray Areal Group, together with Kureinji,[3] and very similar to that spoken by the Watiwati.[4]


Jarijari tribal lands covered around 1,900 square miles (4,900 km2) on the western bank of the Murray River, from above Chalka Creek to Annuello in the Mallee. Their southern frontier ran sound along Hopetoun Lake Korong and Pine Plains. The northern frontier bordered on Redcliffs.[5]

Neighbouring tribes were the Wergaia to the south, the Latjilatji to the west and the Dadi Dadi to the east.

Map including JariJari territory (in yellow) at the north west

Riverine diet

The classification of species by Blandowski was flawed, in that he made several species out of distinct life phases in just a few.[a] At least 3 were reclassified and renamed under a different taxonomy: flathead gudgeon, the Jarijari collundera: Australian smelt (Retropinna semoni) and Murray hardyhead (Craterocephalus fluviatilis)[7]

  • tandan or dew-/jewfish, in Jarijari called kenaru, was considered a great delicacy, and its consumption by young men was forbidden.[8]
  • Bony bream (Nematalosa erebi). Blandowski who was the first to identify it scientifically,[6] called this Megalope Caillentassart, - manur in Jarijari. This was a tribal staple throughout June–July, except for women, for whom it was taboo, since it was thought to have aphrodisiacal properties, given its nourishing adiposity. It was also a grave marker, positioned in a way that pointed in the direction of the presumed murderer.[8]
  • silver perch known as baggack. Blandowski used Thomas Mitchell 's nomenclature and referred to it as Cernua Bidyana.[8]
  • Cernua Eadesii, native aname buruitjall.[8][b]
  • Cernua Nicholsonia, or in Jarijari karpa.[10]
  • Cernua Ifflaensis, or bipe purritjall.[10]
  • Cernua Wilkiensis, or in Jarijari mallupit. A billabong species.[10]
  • Kohna Mackennce, or kohn.[10]
  • Turruitja Achenson, or turrultje. Both a Murray and billabong species.[10]
  • Jerrina Dobreensis, or jorrin. Mainly fished from billabongs.[10]
  • Poko. Only the Jarijari term was given for this species of nigh transparent, greenish spotted trout, which however was not specific to the Murray, but also found in the Yarra River.[10]
  • Uteranka Irvingi or uterank. Also a Yarra fish, not unknown to the Murray, though rare there. Preyed on largely by other fish.
  • Oristes Macquariensis, or yaturr. This was a major staple of thed Jarijari, even in winter where it would be hunted at night by firelight when the flooding led the cod to 'sleep' in the nooks of logs along the bank. In summer, the Jarijari would dive to the bottom of the Murray to spear it.[11]
  • Gristes Peelil, or barnta,[11]
  • Collundera Miitteriana,, in Jarijari collundera. A billabong fish.[12]
  • Loetj, a billabong fish, no longer than 2 inches.[12]
  • Rurrina Macadamia, or koerin/kurrin, a bluish-green billabong fish that mostly preyed on crayfish.[12]
  • Brosmius Bleasdalii, or paltk, a billabong fish, but found also in the Yarra.[12]
  • Cernua Nicholsonia, or karpa.[12]


The Blandowski Expedition (1856-1857) was one of the first documented European encounters with the people. Blandowski described the Yarree as his "good friends".[13] Notably one of William Blandowski's 1857 illustrations depicted traditional Jari Jari recreation. Peter Beveridge, in his 1883 account "The Aborigines of Victoria and Riverina" recorded some of the tribe's dreamtime beliefs, associated with these Murray tribes of which the Jarijari were one.[14]

Blandowski ended his account with a general statement on the recent state of these Murray riverine tribes:

On the whole I have but to make the most deplorable statements concerning our natives. Extermination proceeds so rapidly, that the regions of the Lower Murray are already depopulated, and a quietude reigns there which saddens the traveller who visited those districts a few years ago.[15]

Alternative names

  • Jere jere.
  • Yari-yari.
  • Yarree Yarree, Yarre-yarre, Yerri-yerri, Yerre-yerre, Yerry-yerry.
  • Yairy-yairy.
  • Nyerri-nyerri.
  • Yariki-luk. (exonym applied to the Jarijari by the Wotjobaluk).[5]

Some words


  1. ^ Humphries writes:He was certainly overly enthusiastic in his naming of the four life history stages of silver perch as different species (although he placed them all in the genus Cernua, and mentioned that they were difficult to distinguish from each other). But because the aborigines had different names for them, because they occupy different habitats during each stage, and even professional fish systematists have commonly made the same mistake with other species, this offence is certainly pardonable.'[6]
  2. ^ However Humphries glosses this too as a 'silver perch'. It was named afterDr Richard Eades (1809–1867), a physician at Melbourne Hospital and one of the cofounders of the Philosophical Institute.'[9]


  1. ^ Blandowski 1862, p. 41.
  2. ^ Smyth 1878, p. 38.
  3. ^ Dixon 2002, pp. xxxvi,669.
  4. ^ Clark 1996, p. 14.
  5. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 205.
  6. ^ a b Humphries 2003, p. 164.
  7. ^ Humphries 2003, p. 165.
  8. ^ a b c d Blandowski 1858, p. 131.
  9. ^ Humphries 2003, p. 161.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g Blandowski 1858, p. 132.
  11. ^ a b Blandowski 1858, p. 133.
  12. ^ a b c d e Blandowski 1858, p. 134.
  13. ^ Blandowski 1858, p. 136.
  14. ^ Beveridge 1883.
  15. ^ Blandowski 1858, p. 137.
  16. ^ Trueman 2011, p. 5-11.


  • "AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia". AIATSIS.
  • Allen, Harry (2006). "Authorship and ownership in Blandowski's Australien in 142 Photographischen Abbildungen" (PDF). Australasian Historical Archaeology. Volume 24: 31–37.
  • Beveridge, Peter (1865) [First published 1861]. "A few notes on the dialects, habits, customs and mythology of the Lower Murray aborigines". Transactions of the Royal Society of Victoria. Melbourne. 6: 14–24.
  • Beveridge, Peter (1883). "Of the aborigines inhabiting the great lacustrine and Riverine depression of the Lower Murray". Journal and Proceedings of the Royal Society of New South Wales. Melbourne. 17: 19–74.
  • Blandowski, W. von (1858). "Recent discoveries in natural history on the Lower Murray". Transactions of the Philosophical Society of Vietoria. Melbourne. 2: 124–137.
  • Blandowski, W. von (1862). Australien in 142 photographischen Abbildungen nach zehnjährigen Erfahrungen (PDF). Gleiwicz: Gustav Neumann.
  • Clark, Ian D. (1996). A Report to the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation For Languages. Victorian Aboriginal Corporation.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. (2002). Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-47378-1.
  • Howitt, Alfred William (1904). The native tribes of south-east Australia (PDF). Macmillan.
  • Humphries, Paul (December 2003). "Blandowski misses out: ichthyological etiquette in 19th-century Australia". Endeavour. 27 (4): 160–165.
  • Smyth, Robert Brough (1878). The Aborigines of Victoria: with notes relating to the habits of the natives of other parts of Australia and Tasmania (PDF). Volume 1. Melbourne: J. Ferres, gov't printer.
  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Jarijari (VIC)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.
  • Trueman, Will T. (2011). True Tales of the Trout Cod: River Histories of the Murray-Darling Basin (PDF). Murray-Darling Basin Authority. ISBN 978-1-921914-66-9.
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