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The Wailpi are an indigenous people of South Australia They are also known as the Adnyamathanha, which also refers to a larger group, though they speak a dialect of the Adnyamathanha language.


The Wailpi had, according to Norman Tindale's figures, about 3,000 square miles (7,800 km2) of territory around Umberatana and Mount Serie, south as far as Parachilna Gorge only in the Flinders Ranges. Their eastern extension ran above Wooltana.[1] An early report by a police trooper in the area, Henry Quincy Smith, placed these 'hill people' at Mount Freeiing, Umberatana, Angipena, Ameandana. Lollabollana, Illawortina, the Daly and Stanley Mine (Poondinna).[2]

Social organization and customs

The Wailpi practiced both circumcision and subincision.[1]


According to Henry Quincy Smith:-

They believe that two old women called Yammutu live towards the east a long way (paldrupa), and that when rain comes they lie down on their backs with their legs open, and the water runs into their person and causes them to bear a lot of young blacks called Muree; who, as they grow up, start westward, always throwing a small waddy, called weetchu, before them, till one of them meets a blackfellow with his lubra. The Muree, being invisible, then walks in the blackfellow' s tracks to make him or her look like the blackfellow, and then throws the small waddy under the thumb-nail or great toe-nail, and so enters into the woman's body. She is soon pregnant, and in due time gives birth to an ordinary child.'[3]

Alternative names

  • Anjamutina, Andyamatana
  • Anjimatana (Kuyani exonym = 'hill people.')
  • Anyamatana, Adnjamatana, Adnjamadana, Adjnjamatana,Adyamatana
  • Archualda[4]
  • Atjualda. (mishearing of preceding)
  • Benbakanjamata. (Kuyani exonym meaning "Pine Hills people")
  • Binbarnja. (Wadikali exonym from binba = Callitris)
  • Gadjnjamadja
  • Kanjamata, Kanjimata. (Wongkanguru exonym))
  • Keidnamutha
  • Keydnjamarda
  • Kudnamietha. (eastern tribal exonym, kudna = feces, i.e. shit-eaters).
  • Kutchnamootha
  • Mardala. (Diyari exonym from Wailpi ma:dəla, meaning 'no'.)
  • Mardula
  • Ngatjuwalda. ("our speech," language name),
  • Nimalda
  • Nimbalda, Nimbaldi. (misprint).
  • Nuralda
  • Umbertana. (error for Umberatana, a toponym)
  • Unyamatana, Unyamootha
  • Wadla. ("Scrub wallabies," Diyari pejorative exonym)
  • Wailbi. (in Barngarla, this word means 'south west')
  • Wajalpi
  • Wipie



  1. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 218.
  2. ^ Smith & Taplin 1879, p. 87.
  3. ^ Smith & Taplin 1879, p. 88.
  4. ^ Tindale 1974, p. 219.


  • "Aboriginal South Australia". Government of South Australia.
  • "AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia". AIATSIS.
  • Mountford, C. P.; Harvey, Alison (December 1941). "Women of the Adnjamatana Tribe of the Northern Flinders Ranges, South Australia". Oceania. 12 (2): 155–162. JSTOR 40327941.
  • Schebeck, B. (1973). "The Atynymatana personal pronoun and the Wailpi kinship system". Papers in Australian Linguistics (6).
  • Smith, Henry Quincy; Taplin, George (1879). Folklore, manners, customs and languages of the South Australian aborigines (PDF). Adelaide: E Spiller, Acting Government Printer. pp. 87–89.
  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Wailpi (SA)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press. ISBN 978-0-708-10741-6.
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