Nhawu speakers lived in the southwestern half of Eyre Peninsula in the time just prior to the colonisation of South Australia. The Nhawu people were subject to raids by whalers and sealers in the decades prior to official colonisation.

Norman Tindale could not locate any Nhawu people in the 1930s and drew his account of  Nhawu territory primarily from Wirangu and Barngarla speakers. Nhawu is closely related to the nearby Barngarla and Wirangu languages. Nhawu-identifying people today live on the Eyre Peninsula and Adelaide. The Mobile Language Team has recently reconstructed the Nhawu language from the 10 words recorded by German missionary C.W. Schürmann to 300 words.  An online language learning site for Nawu is in preparation.

AIATSIS id : L.02


Battara [= scrubby gum], Gnowoo, Hilleri(?), Kadu [= man], Kartawon-gulta, Kartwongulta, Naua, Nawa, Nawo, Neow, New O, Ngao, Njao, Njau, Now, Nowo, Wiljaru (of Barngarla, means ‘westerners’), Willuro.


The above map is based upon the Horton Indigenous Map of Australia © Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS, and Auslig/Sinclair, Knight, Merz, 1996. The full map is available on the AIATSIS website. The locations of the languages of SA, as stated on the this website are not intended for Land Claim use, and are an approximate guide only. Individual language project locations are based on information from publicly available MILR (ILS) documents.


HERCUS, Luise & SIMPSON, Jane. 2001. ‘The Tragedy of Nauo’. In Jane Simpson, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin and Barry Alpher (eds) Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages. Canberra, Pacific Linguistics, pp.262-290.

SCHÜRMANN, Clamor Wilhelm. 1846. The Aboriginal tribes of Port Lincoln in South Australia their mode of life, manners, customs etc. Adelaide, George Dehane. VIEW HERE [[Reprinted in Woods, J.D., ed. The Native Tribes of South Australia, 1879; pp207-251.] Includes 10 words in Parnkalla, with additional vocabulary within the text. Also includes notes on language. [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith, Lutheran Archives and other libraries in Adelaide.]]

SCHÜRMANN, Clamor Wilhelm. 1844. A vocabulary of the Parnkalla language spoken by the natives inhabiting the western shores of Spencers Gulf, to which is prefixed a collection of grammatical rules hitherto ascertained. VIEW HERE [Adelaide: Dehane. (Facsimile, microfilmed by the South Australian Public Library, Adelaide, 1962). [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.] [2779 entries]]

SCHÜRMANN, Clamor Wilhelm. n.d. Diaries. [[Translated to English (p.121 onwards) (names of people and places throughout with some vocabulary relating to religion)] [This material is held at the Lutheran Archives; Parts published in Schürmann (1987) (op.cit.).]]

SCHÜRMANN, Edwin A. 1987. I'd Rather Dig Potatoes: Clamor Schurmann and the Aborigines of South Australia 1838-1853. Adelaide: Lutheran Publishing House. VIEW HERE [[Includes extracts from C.W. Schürmann’s diaries and publications]. [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.]]

TINDALE, Norman B. 1974. Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. Canberra: ANU.