Njamal (WA)

LocationOn the Coongan and Shaw rivers to their headwaters and on the lower reaches of the de Grey River west of Barramine almost to Mulyie and Wodgina; at Marble Bar, Nullagine, Hillside, Bamboo Springs, and Warrawoona. They claim access to the sea on a narrow strip following the Tabba Tabba Creek through Strelley and Pippingarra; the coastal hordes are called the ['Bidu 'Njamal]. Njamal also inhabit the headwaters of the Yule and Turner rivers east of Wodjina. They are the ['Pundju ] or 'heavy' speakers of Njamal. The area west of the Shaw River divide represents a late precontact territorial gain by the Njamal at expense of Kariara and Indjibandi. These western coastal plain dwellers are also called the ['Tjingkai 'Njamal]; those on the uplands eastward to Bamboo Springs are the ['Jabiru ('Jaburu) 'Njamal], while the hordes on the Nullagina River between Nullagine and Meentheena on the east and north to Callawa are distinguished as the ['Widagari] (they speak 'light' Njamal), and consider themselves as only 'half Njamal.' The Njamal circumcise but make only a token subincision of the glans sufficient to be regarded as 'men' by the invading peoples from the east. Physically, the Njamal, like some other western coastal tribes, tend to be heavily built, more like the classic Murrayians of southeastern Australia than the people of the Western Desert. Color Plate 30 is relevant.
Co-ordinates120°0'E x 21°10'S
Area16,300 sq. m. (42,400 sq. km.)
ReferencesBarlee in Curr, 1886; Harper in Curr, 1886; Mathews, 1900 (Gr. 6506); Withnell, 1901; Clement, 1903; Brown, 1912, 1913; Bates, 1914; Connelly, 1932; Davidson, 1938; Tindale, 1940, 1953 MS; Worms, 1954; Petri, 1956, 1960; Fink, 1957 MS; Berndt, 1959, 1964; Davidson and McCarthy, 1957; Brandenstein, 1965 MS.
Alternative NamesNyamal, Nyamel, N'amal, Njalmal (probably a draftsman's error), Namal, Namel, Gnamo (in Leiden Museum MS), Tjingkai Njamal (hordes near Strelley River), Ibarga (upper Oakover River hordes), Ibarrga, Ibargo, Njamat (an Indjibandi version of name), Wanbarda (Njangamarda name for this, the Ngarla and the Kariara tribe, it means 'lowlands people'), Widagari (the southeastern hordes of Njamal), Widagaree, Wirdakarri, Weedokarry, Weedookary, Pundju Njamal ('heavy' speakers of Njamal), Pundu N'amal.
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