The Wotjobaluk are an Aboriginal Australian people of the state of Victoria.


R. H. Mathews supplied a brief analysis of the Wotjobaluk language, describing what he called the Tyattyalla dialect of the Wotjobaluk around Albacutya[1] He stated that it was characterized by four numbers: the singular, the dual, trial, and plural.[2] There were, in addition, two forms of the trial number for the Ist person, depending on whether the person addressed was included or excluded.[2] Thus one obtains: wutju (a man); "wutju-buliñ" (two men); wutju-kullik (three men); wutju-getyaul (several men).[2][3]


Wotjobaluk territory took in some 12,000 square kilometres (4,800 sq mi) inclusive of the Wimmera River, Outlet Creek and the two eutrophic lakes, Hindmarsh and Albacutya. Their southern borders down ran to Dimboola, Kaniva, and Servicetown. Their western frontier lay beyond Yanac, and to the east, as far as Warracknabeal and Lake Korong. Their northern horizon reached Pine Plains.[4]

Social organisation

The Wotjobaluk were divided into 11 bands or clans:[5]

  1. Lail-buil between Pine Plains and the River Murray.
  2. Jakelbalak between Pine Plains and Lake Albacutya.
  3. Kromelak at Lake Albacutya.
  4. Wanmung Wanmungkur at Lake Hindmarsh.
  5. Kapuu-kapunbara on the River Wimmera, towards Lake Hindmarsh.
  6. Duwinbarap west of River Wimmera.
  7. Jackalbarap west of Duwinbarap.
  8. Jarambiuk at Yarriambiack Creek (so called).
  9. Whitewurudiuk, east of Yarriambiack Creek.
  10. Kerabialbarap south of Mount Arapiles.
  11. Murra-murra-barap in the Grampians.

Hunting lore

Wotjobaluk hunters told Adolf Hartmann that kangaroos had acute hearing, and could twig the presence of a predator at 150 yards simply by hearing the noise of ankle-bones cracking. Older kangaroos were apt to cast their young from their marsupial pouch if chased by dingos, to distract the dogs from their main prey.[6]

Alternative names

  • Buibatjali (dialect name), buibatyalli
  • Gnallbagootchyourl[7]
  • Gourrbaluk (Gour =Lake Hindmarsh, name used by Wemba-Wemba)
  • Kurm-me-lak (horde name = Gromiluk)
  • Malikunditj (northern tribal exonym)
  • Malleegunditch[4]
  • Ngalbagutja denoting Lake Albucutya, a Wemba-Wemba exonym used of northern hordes of the Wotjobaluk)
  • Tjatijala (regional name west of Lake Hindmarsh)
  • Tyattyalla, Djadjala
  • Wattyabullak
  • Wimmera tribe
  • Woitu-bullar (plural of man as used in Barapa Barapa tribe)
  • Wotjo-ba-laiuruk (lit. "men and women")
  • Woychibirik (name for man = wotjo])
  • Wuttyabullak, Wuttyuballeak

Some words

  • dhallung (male or buck klangaroo)
  • gal. (dog)[8]
  • kulkun. (a boy)
  • laiaruk. (a woman)
  • lanangurk. (a girl).[3]
  • mindyun (a kangaroo)
  • muty (doer or female kangaroo)[8]
  • winya nyua. (Who is there?)[9]
  • wotjo (a man)



  1. ^ Mathews 1902, pp. 77ff..
  2. ^ a b c Mathews 1902, p. 72.
  3. ^ a b Mathews 1902, p. 77.
  4. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 208.
  5. ^ Hartmann 1878, p. 39.
  6. ^ Hartmann 1878, p. 250.
  7. ^ Stone 1911, p. 435.
  8. ^ a b Mathews 1902, p. 78.
  9. ^ Mathews 1902, p. 81.