The Nukunu language is tradionally associated with the east side of Spencer Gulf and the Southern Flinders Ranges. Many Nukunu people today live in Adelaide, but families maintain a close connection to Nukunu country, which includes but is not limited to the townships of Port Augusta, Port Germein, Port Pirie and Melrose.
Nukunu language is most closely related to Narungga (Yorke Peninsula) and other Thura-Yura languages (Ngadjuri, Kaurna, Barngarla, Adnyamathanha, Kuyani, Nawu).
Nukunu is presently a heritage language without fluent speakers. However, efforts are underway to revive the language. Lessons are available on our Online Language Learning Portal.
Linguist Luise Hercus produced a Nukunu dictionary in 1992, which consolodates the knowledge of the last full Nukunu speakers in the 1960s. Contemporary Nukunu people continue to use Nukunu words mixed with English in their everyday speech.
AIATSIS id : L.04
Barutadura (men of Baroota), Doora, Eura (general term for several groups), Njuguna, Nokuna, Nokunna, Noocoona, Nookoona, Nu-guna, Nuguna (used by AIATSIS), Nugunu, Nukana, Nukuna, Nukunna, Nukunnu, Nukunu, Pukunna (misprint), Tjura, Tura (‘tura’ = man), Tyra, Tyura, Wallaroo, Warra (name of language), Wongaidja, Wongaidya.
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.
BLACK, J.M. (John McConnell) 1917. ‘Vocabularies of three South Australian native languages- Wirrund, Narrinyeri and Wongaidya’, Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, 1916, Vol. XLI, pp.1-13. VIEW HERE [[This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.]]
CONDON, H. T. (Herbert Thomas). 1955. Aboriginal bird names - South Australia, pt 1 & 2. South Australian Ornithologist 21,6/7: pp.74-88; 21,8: pp.91-8. [[Annotation: Bird names in Aranda, Pitjantjatjara, Gugada, Antakarinya, Mirning, Wirangu, Yankunytjatjara, Wailbi, Wiljagali, Narangga, Kaurna, Ngadjuri, Bungandidj, Yawarawarga, Potaruwutj, Narrinyeri, Kujani, Yadliyawarra, Parnkala, Warki, Arabana, Dieri, Wangganguru, Ngamini, Nawu, Ngayawung, Nugunu & Ngalea. The wordlists have been taken from various other sources.] [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia and other libraries.]]
ELLIS, Catherine J. (Catherine Joan), (1935-1996). 1964. Nugunu language elicitation and history with Fred Graham and Martha Rankine. AIATSIS collection. Field tapes 64/1 and 64/3. PMS 2175 in library. 
HACK, B. 1967. ‘Mount Remarkable Tribe.’ In Taplin, G. ed. The Folklore, Manners, Customs and Languages of the South Australian Aborigines: gathered from inquiries made by authority of South Australian Government. New York, London, Johnson Reprint Corp. VIEW HERE [[Informant: Coonia] [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.]]
HERCUS, L. A. (Luise Anna), (1926-). 1965-1970. Songs, mythology, language elicitation and oral history. AIATSIS sound collection. Archive Nos.: 02001 – 02126. Field tape numbers: 2-12, 15-16, 18-26, 40-57, 61, 63-66, 70-75, 77, 80, 86-100, 104-107, 113-114, 130-136, 138-143, 154, 156, 159-176, 178, 183, 188-191, 194-206, 212-215, 219, 221-231, 234-240, 253-255, 257, 259, 261-269, 274-284, 288, 297, 299-314, 317-331, 341-342 and 345-348. [[Includes some transcriptions] [Access: Restricted - some tapes are restricted – ceremonial and gender specific material.] [Nukunu recording: Gilbert Bramfield 30 August 1965 Andamooka Opal Field Field Tape Nos.: 10-11; Fred Graham October 1965 Port Adelaide (recordings by L.A. Hercus & C.J. Ellis); Gilbert Bramfield 27 May 1966 Port Germein Field Tape No.: 42.]]
HERCUS, Luise A. 1965. Language elicitation, cultural narratives and songs from SA, NSW and southwest QLD. AITSIS sound collection. Archive Nos.: 09889 – 10051. Field tape number(s): 13-14, 17, 58-60, 62, 67-69, 76, 78-79, 81-85, 101-103, 108-112, 115-119, 121-129, 144-153, 155, 157, 177, 179-181, 192-193, 217-218, 220, 233, 241-252, 260, 270-273, 289-296, 298, 315-316, 343-344, 710, 729-730, 732, 819, 821-827, 851-858. [[Access: Some restricted material - personal and ceremonial][Language elicitation, songs and cultural discussions with Mick McLean, Jack Long, Toby Mason, Alice Oldfield, Topsie McLean, Maudie Lennie, Jimmy Russell, Tom Naylon, Maudie Naylon, Bob Naylon, Barnie Coffin, Harold Wilton, Arthur McLean, Charlie Traveller, Tom Strangways, Gilbert Branfield, Ernie King, Kate Buggamy, George Dutton, Leslie Russell, John King, Wally Pierce and others.] [Nukunu recording: Moonie Davies (Parnkalla/Kukata m]
HERCUS, L. A. (Luise Anna). 1970-1972. Discussions and language material from Western NSW and areas between Port Augusta and Maree. AIATSIS sound collection. [Archive Nos.: 02349 – 02388. Field tape number(s): 349 - 426. [Nukunu recording: Gilbert Bramfield 20 January 1971, Field Tape No.: 363.]]
HERCUS, L. A. (Luise Anna). 1973-1974. Stories from Western NSW and between Port Augusta and Maree, SA. AIATSIS sound collection. [Archive Nos.: 03120 – 03155. FT Nos 570-641. [Some transcripts included]. [Nukunu recording: Moonie Davies (Parnkalla/Kukata man) 20 August 1973 Port Augusta Field Tape No.: 583 (also FT 35 – not found).]]
HERCUS, L.A. (Luise Anna). 1992. A Nukunu dictionary [Nukunu/English]. [Canberra: AIATSIS. [428 words.] [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.]]
McMURTIE, Gwenda. 1936. MS. 'The Nunkunu [sic] language.' Held in Roy Parkes Collection, AA246/02 & N.B. Tindale Collection AA 338/1/35, S.A. Museum Archives. [[Approx. 60 Nukunu words recorded at the Baroota Reserve, near Port Germein, on 1/9/1936, collected mainly from Nukunu women.]]
MOUNTFORD, Charles P. (Charles Pearcy), (1890-1976). 1938. Flinders Ranges Research. Box 14, item 3: interview with Mrs. Bramfield, last of Port Augusta tribe, 1938: [The Mountford Sheard collection] State library of South Australia. 
NOBLE, Police Trooper. 1979. The Flinders Ranges Tribe. In Taplin, G. The Folklore, Manners, Customs and Languages of the South Australian Aborigines: gathered from inquiries made by authority of South Australian Government. Adel.: Govt. printer. 1879. pp.142-153. VIEW HERE [[Approx. 68 words][This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.]]
NUKUNU CULTURAL HERITAGE TRUST INC. 2003. Some Nukunu words/ A film by Malcolm McKinnon. [[Speakers/Performers: Wayne Turner, Lindsay Thomas, Margaret Smith, Marijhan Sammy, Jania Williams-Thomas, Tilly Tjala Thomas & Beth Turner.] [Short film shown at the Nukunu Suite, Melrose Courthouse Museum, Stuart St (Main Rd), Melrose.]]
NUKUNU PEOPLE’S COUNCIL INC. 2003. Wangkatya Nukunu/ A film by Malcolm McKinnon. [[Speakers/Performers: Jared Thomas & Margaret Smith.] [Short film shown at the Nukunu Suite, Melrose Courthouse Museum, Stuart St (Main Rd), Melrose.]]
O'GRADY, Geoffrey N. 1961. Materials on suffixing languages of Western Australia. Sydney, 1961. (numbered variously 1-378). AIATSIS print collection. [[109 words in comparative list]. pp.265-73.]
O'GRADY, Geoffrey. 1955, 1960. Nuguna wordlist. [[Consultants Mr Eddie Sansbury, assisted by Mr Fred Graham. Point Pearce Mission in January, 1955]. [Mr Gilbert Branfield. Port Augusta March 4, 1960] [Vocabulary: 1 file, 8 kB, 120 entries] ASEDA]
SIMPSON, Jane. n.d. SA languages. [[Includes an addition to the IAD Sourcebook of the 160 standard words of Nukunu] [FOSF Vocabulary: 59 files, 2624 kB] ASEDA]
THOMAS, Jared. 1998. Westies vs Bungala 1981. In Davies, Kerry. 1998. Across Country: Stories from Aboriginal Australia. Sydney, New South Wales, pp.198-202. [[Short story: Contains some words in Nukunu.] [See various other plays and books by this author containing Nukunu vocabulary scattered throughout.] [This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and other libraries in Adelaide.]]
TINDALE, Norman B. (Norman Barnett),(1900-1993). 1938-39. ‘Harvard and Adelaide Universities Anthropological Expedition, Australia. 1938-1939. Journal and notes by Norman B. Tindale. 2.’ SA Museum Identifier: AA 338/1/15/2 [[Informant: Frank Walters January 1939 Port Augusta.] [Wordlist possibly also kept in Parallel Vocabularies: AA 338/7/2/58, AA 338/7/2/58, AA 338/7/2/60, AA 338/7/1/19, AA 338/7/1/43, AA 338/8/20.]]
VALENTINE, J.C. 1886. Mount Remarkable. In Curr, E.M. 1886. The Australian Race: its Origin, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia, and the Routes by Which It Spread Itself. Vol. 2, Govt Printer, Melbourne, pp. 136-139. VIEW HERE [[This material is available at the State Library of South Australia, Barr Smith and State Libraries]]