Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay Dictionary
Background To The Dictionary

A bilingual dictionary of Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay was prepared in 1993 by Peter Austin as part of a project funded by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Hon. Mr Robert Tickner, and administered by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

The book version of the dictionary has both a Gamilaraay to English section, and an English-Gamilaraay section which gives the Gamilaraay equivalent of English words. Both parts are arranged in alphabetical order, following the usual order. But note that the sound system of Gamilaraay allows words to start with only consonant sounds written B, D, G, M, N, T, W, and Y. Later, Peter Austin also prepared a thematically-organised thesaurus.

Peter Austin's work is the result of over twenty years' study of the Gamilaraay language, beginning in 1972 when he first visited Moree and Boggabilla. This was followed by further field work and researching historical documents. More recently, he has been in contact with people in the north-west of New South Wales, and has recorded additional Gamilaraay materials with Bill Reid.

Peter Austin says:

"I wish to express my gratitude to all the Gamilaraay people who assisted me in my studies of their language, especially Mary Brown, Burt Draper, Hanna Duncan, Ron McIntosh, Florence Munro, Grace Munro, Leila Orcher, Arthur Pitt, and Bill Reid. I am grateful for the time they took to share their knowledge with me and hope that they and their descendants will be able to make use of the materials presented here so that the true history and heritage of the Murri people in the north-west can be made available for all to learn.

I owe a great debt also to the language scholars who preceded me and who have kindly made their materials available for study and inclusion in this work. I thank N.B. Tindale who collected important linguistic and anthropological data in 1938, S.A. Wurm who worked with the last fluent speaker in 1955, and R.M.W. Dixon who made a tape recording and notes in 1971 that led to my beginning to study the language. I have also profitted from discussions on Gamilaraay and neighbouring languages with Corinne Williams, Tamsin Donaldson, and Lynette Oates."

The original book version was produced using databases and custom-built software running on mainframe computers. The system was used for information entry, storage, manipulation, and production of print-ready files, and eventually paved the way for this World Wide Web version.