Diary of ten years eventful life of an early settler in Western Australia and also A descriptive vocabulary of the language of the aborigines/A descriptive vocabulary of the language in common use amongst the aborigines of Western Australia/Part 1/K

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Observe—The sounds of K and G are in so many instances used indiscriminately or interchangeably, that it is difficult to distinguish frequently which sound predominates. The predominant sound varies in different districts; as Katta, Gatta, &c. See the Preface.

Ka, ad.—Or.

Kaa, ad.—(K.G.S.)—Enough.

Kaabo, s.—A battue of kangaroo. A word denoting that a number of people are going together to hunt kangaroo; as Ngalata watto Kaabo, we three go away to hunt kangaroo. A number of persons form a wide circle, which they gradually contract, till they completely enclose and hem in their game, when they attack it with their spears. But a single hunter creeps upon his game, concealing himself with a branch which he carries for the purpose, till he comes within a short spear-throw.

Kabarda, s.—A species of snake, cream-coloured with dark spots. It is considered deadly, and is much dreaded by the natives; but although several dogs have died suddenly from the bite of a snake, no white person has hitherto suffered more than a slight inconvenience from temporary pain and swelling of the limb affected. Subsequently I saw a boy who died in a few hours after he was bitten.

Kăbbar, a.—Bleak; exposed.

Kaddar, s.—Large black lizard.

Kadjin, s.—Soul; spirit. The form which rises after death, and goes over the sea to the island of souls.

Kadjo, s.—A native hammer, broad and blunt at one end, and sharp-edged at the other; formed of two pieces of whinstone, cemented on to a short thick stick, by means of the Tudibi, or prepared Xanthorea gum.

Kadjo, s.—The strong gum or resin used for fixing on the heads of the hammers; it is obtained from the Barro, or tough-topped Xanthorea.

Kadjo, s.—Basalt; whinstone; probably from being used for the head of the Kadjo. The decomposition of this stone forms a fine rich dark-red loam. Veins of whinstone are found intersecting the granite from east to west. There is a formation of Columnar Basalt, just to the south of Point Casuarina, at Koombana Bay, not far from the new town of Australind; and it is mentioned in M. Peron's work, as existing somewhere in the southern bight of Geographe Bay, but has not been seen there by any of the colonists. For geological description, see Boye.

Kaddang—Ignorant; not understanding.

Kaggal, s.—The east. (Northern dialect.) See Kangal.

Kăggarăk, s.—The name of the native dance among the southern men.

Kainbil—(K.G.S.) The dead.

Kakăm, s.—The rump; as Kakam Kotye, bone-rumped, A term of reproach.

Kakur, s.—(K.G.S.) The east.

Kalbyn, v.—Pres. part., Kalbynan; past tense, Kalbynăgga; to exercise some charm or enchantment, so as to still the wind if necessary: or to raise wind; to procure rain in order to annoy an enemy. To a people living so shelterless and unprotected as the aborigines of Australia, nothing is more annoying than bad weather.

Kaldar, s.—The green Iguana.

Kalga, s.—A crook. A stick with a crook at each end, used for pulling down the Măngyt, or Banksia flowers. Măngyt Bărrangmidi, the instrument or agent for procuring the Mangyt.

Kalga, s.—Eurostopodus. The goat-sucker.

Kalgonak, s.—(K.G.S.) A species of frog.


Kalgyt, s.—The Xanthorea flower-stem; or any other stick fitted for building huts with.

Kali, s.—Podiceps cristatus. Grebe. Crested Grebe.

Kaling, v.—Pres. part, Kalingwin; past tense, Kalingăga. To sweep the earth with boughs.

Kaljirgang, ,s.—Tan. A sea-swallow.

Kalkăda, s.—(Mugil) The mullet-fish. Great heaps of this and the herring-fish were thrown up dead in the summer of 1841, in one day, in the river at Guildford. The cause was not known, but it was attributed to some volcanic action along the bed of the river, or eruption of mephitic gas.

Kalla, s.—Fire; a fire; (figuratively) an individual's district; a property in land; temporary resting place. Wingi Kalla, meaning where are you staying just now?

Kallabidyl, s.—Charcoal embers; dead coals.

Kallabudjor, s.—Property in land.

Kalla-inak, s.—Embers; cinders.

Kallăk, a.—Hot; burning; fiery.

Kallama, a.—(Derivative evidently from Kalla, fire.) Bright yellow.

Kallamatta, s.—(Compound of Kalla, fire; and Matta, a leg.) Fire-stick; firebrand.

Kallăng, a.—Warm, applied to water; Gabby Kallăng, water standing in the whole of a rock, and therefore warm at any season under an Australian sun; water at the edges of lakes in the summer season. It is a very remarkable fact in the history of mankind, that a people should be found now to exist, without any means of heating water, or cooking liquid food; or, in short, without any culinary utensil or device of any sort. Their only mode of cooking was to put the food into the fire, or roast it in the embers or hot ashes; small fish or frogs being sometimes first wrapped in a piece of paper-tree bark. Such was their state when we came among them. They are now extremely fond of soup and tea.

Kallăngkallăyg, a.—Burning hot; from Kalla, fire, and Ang, of.

Kallang, v.—Pres, part., Kallangwin; past tense, Kallangăgga. To collect sticks for a fire.

Kallar, a.—Deadly; mortal.

Kallarak, a.—Hot; warm.

Kallardtan, v.—To wound mortally.

Kallili, s.—Formica maxima. The lion-ant, nearly an inch and a half long, having very sharp mandibles, and giving a formidable sting, which produces very acute pain.

Kallip, a.—Denoting a knowledge of localities; familiar acquaintance with a range of country, or with individuals, also used to express property in land; as Ngan-na Kallip, my land.

Kal-ya, s.—Chorizema cordifolia. A plant.

Kal-yăgăl, ad.—Always; ever; continually.

Kamak, s.—A small kind of Kuruba, found in the York district.

Kambar, s.—Incisores, or cutting-teeth of the large kangaroo; one of these is sometimes inserted into the end of the Miro, or spear-throwing board, for the purpose of scraping anything with, as the points of the spears, &c.

Kambart—A niece. See Gambart.

Kămmajar, a.—Green.

Kanangur, a.—(K.G.S.) Adorned; shining.

Kanba a.—The wing of a bird; gill of a fish.

Kanbărra, s.—Scolopendra, a centipede. Although numerous they are not dreaded. I have not heard of any person suffering from their bite.

Kanbigur, s.—(K.G.S.) The eyelash.

Kandi, v.—To creep; to sidle along; to steal on game.

Kandal-yăng, a.—Heavy.

Kăndang, v.—Pres. part., Kandangwin; past tense, Kandang-ăgga. To vomit; to spew.

Kangăl—The east; or, more properly, the spot of sun-rising, as it varies throughout the year.

Kangarong-a, s.—(Used on the Murray and Serpentine rivers, south of Perth.) Female kangaroo. Probably the proper sound is Yangorgnanga, from Yangor, a Kangaroo, and Ngangan, mothers—Mother of kangaroo.

Kange, a.—(K.G.S.) Straight.

Kang-innak, s.—Halcyon sanctus. Species of kingfisher. This bird, has been seen in the interior, in districts where neither lakes nor rivers were found.

Kangun, s.—Uncle; father-in-law.

Kangur, s.—(K.G.S.) A species of fly; also a native dance.

Kănnah, in.—Is it so? Eh? Verily? Do you understand? An interrogative particle, used at the end of a sentence requiring assent or reply to a remark. The only mode of asking a question is to affirm or assume a fact, then add Kannah? Is it so? or not? from Ka, or.

Kănnahjil, in.—A more intensitive form of expression than the preceding, indicating, Is it true? Do you really speak the truth?

Kănnamit, s.—Hirundo. The swallow. Very like the English house-swallow. It builds in hollow trees, or sometimes now under the eaves of houses

Kănning—The south.

Kapbur, s.—Jacksonia Sternbergiana. One of the dullest and most melancholy foliaged trees in Australia. It has an unpleasant smell in burning, from which it is frequently called stinkwood, as in Africa also. Horses, sheep, and goats eat the leaves with avidity.

Kara, s.—A spider. Some kinds spin a very strong silk-like thread, which offers a sensible resistance as you pass through the bush.

Karak, s.—Calyptorhyncus fulgidus. The red-tailed black cockatoo. The males have their tales barred, the females spotted, with red.

Karal-ya, s.—A fish colonially called the cobbler. The natives spear them in the shallow salt water.

Karamb, ad.—Formerly; any time past.

Karbărra, s.—Fern.

Karda, s.—Part; portion; generally half. (South word.) A very large species of lizard.

Kardaborn, v.—To cut right through; from Karda, and Born, to cut.

Kardagor, prep.—Between; amongst.

Kardagut, s.—(K.G.S.) A species of ant.

Kărdang, s — Younger brother; third son; also third finger.

Kardar, s.—A large black lizard.

Kardara, s.—Long-tailed tree Iguana.

Kardatakkan, v.—Compounded of Karda, part; and Takkan to break. To break in two; to break off; to break in pieces.

Kardidi, a.—Thin; small.

Kardijit, s.—A brother; neither the eldest nor the youngest. Derived, most likely, from Karda, the half, and therefore the middle; and Ijow, to put. The second son, also the middle finger.

Kardil, s.—One of the trees from the wood of which the shields are made.

Kardo, s.—A married or betrothed person, whether male or female; husband or wife.

Kardobarrang, v.—(Compounded of Kardo, a wife; and Barrang, to take.) To marry; to take a wife. The law with regard to marriage is, that a man can never have as his wife a woman of the same family name as himself, as a Ballărok a Ballărok, or a Dtondarăp a Dtondarăp. A man's wives consist either of the females who have been betrothed to him from their birth; those whom he has inherited from a deceased brother, or those whom he has run away with; but the rule as regards the family in each case remains the same.

Karduk, s.—(K.G.S.) A species of fish.

Kardura, s.—Two; a pair.

Kargyl-ya, a.—Clean.

Kargyl-yărăn, v.—Pres. part., Kargyl-yărănin; past tense, Kargyl-yărănaga. To clean.

Kargyu, s.—Ieracidea Berigora. Lizard-eating hawk.

Karing, s.—The south-west wind; generally bringing fine weather in that locality.

Karjăt, v.—Pres. part., Karjatin; past tense, Karjatăgga. To cut.

Karnayul, aff. part.—(Upper Swan dialect.) It is true; it is a fact.

Kărnbarrougin, part.—Belching; eructating.

Karne, a.—(K.G.S.) Weak; foolish.

Karra, s.—Conduct; manner; behaviour.

Karrakaraa, or Karrawa—An exclamation of approbation. That is it; that will do, &c.

Karradjul, a.—Troublesome; tiresome. (From Karra, behaviour, and Djul, bad.)

Karragwabba, a.—Civil; well-behaved.

Karh-rh, s.—A tuberose root, like several small potatoes. It belongs to the Orchis tribe.

Karri, s.—A crab.

Karrin, a.—Blunt-edged.

Karyma, s.—A scorpion. (Northern dialect.)

Katta, s.—Head; hill; top of anything.

Katta Katta Kăbbin, v.—To hesitate.

Kattamordo, s.—(Upper Swan dialect.) The mountains; the high head. The name given to the Darling range of hills, which runs nearly north and south for almost three hundred miles. Their base is granite, having boulders of ironstone and breccia superimposed, and being in some places intersected by basalt. The other principal ranges are the Stirling range, comprising the high hills of Tulbrunup and Kykunerup, the highest yet known in the colony; and also Moresby's flat-topped range, which is supposed to be of the red sandstone of the coal formation, and promises to be a valuable district when examined.

Kattangirang, s.—A small species of lizard.

Katte, v.—(North dialect.) To carry; to fetch.

Kattidj, v.—Pres. part., Kattidjin; past tense, Kattidjaga; to know; to understand; to hear. This word seems to be compounded of Katta, the head; and Ijow, to put.

Kattidjballar, v.—To conceal information. Literally, to know secretly.

Kattidjmurdoinăn, v—To mind; to fix your attention upon.

Kattik—(K.G.S.) Night.

Kattin—(K.G.S.) A few.

Kattyl, v.—To delay.

Kiddal, s.—A species of cricket insect. Grilla.

Ki-ilgur, s.—(K.G.S.) A small species of hawk.

Ki-in—(K.G.S.) The dead.

Kijjibrun, s.—A water-fowl; a species of Coot.

Kilkillăng—As Nalgo Kilkillang; setting the teeth on edge.

Killal. s.—Formica maxima; lion-ant.

Killin, s.—The pudenda.

Kilung, s.—(K.G.S.) The fresh-water tortoise.

K-nude, s.—A species of casuarina.

Kobbălăk, s.—Pregnancy.

Kobbălo, s.—Stomach; belly.

Kobbalobakkan-yugow, v.—To want. (See 'Gurdu) To hunger for a thing.

Kobbălo-bu-yirgădăk, s.—A sorcerer. Boylya Gadăk. Compounded of Kobbalo, stomach; Buyi, a stone; and Gadak, possessing. Seemingly answering to our stony or hard-hearted person.

Kobart, s.—A species of spear-wood found in the swamps.

Kobat Kobatănăn, v.—To decoy. Compounded of Kue, the sound they utter when calling at a distance to each other; and Bado, to go.

Kogang, ad.—In ambush, as watching for game.

Kogăng-oginnow, v.—To lie in ambush.

Kogyn, s.—Any edible bulb.

Kokadăng, s.—Or Wal-yu-my. Jacksonia prostrata. A shrub much frequented by Bandicots and Wallobys.

Kokal-yăng, s.—(North-east word.) Feathers; or a tuft of feathers worn as an ornament.

Kokănwin, a.—Festering.

Kokardar, a.—(K.G S.) High; lofty.

Kokoro, s.—A small fish with very large eyes.

Kolbang, v.—Pres. part., Kolbangwin; past tense, Kolbang-ăga; to move; to proceed; to go forward.

Kolbardo, v.—To depart; to go. Compounded of Kolo (which see) and Bardo, to go.

Kolbogo, s.—Mesembryanthemum equilateralis; the Hottentot fig-plant. The inner part of the fruit is eaten by the natives. It has a salt sweetish taste.

Kolbogo-măngara, s.—Compound of Kolbogo, the Hottentot fig, and Mangara, hair. The leaves of the Hottentot fig-plant. In the early days of the settlement, when garden vegetables were scarce, these were split up, and dressed like French beans by some, and used at the table.

Kole, s.—A name. Names are conferred upon the children which have reference to some remarkable incident occuring at the time of the birth, or which are descriptive of some particular locality, or commemorative of some event, or sight, or sound, and are intended to be indicative rather of the feelings or actions of the parent, than prophetic of the future character of the child. These names are readily exchanged with other individuals as a mark of friendship, and frequently become so entirely superseded by the adopted appellation, that the original name is scarcely remembered, and the meaning of it is often entirely forgotten.

Kolil, s.—Melaleuca. Colonially, tea-tree, or paper-bark tree. The first of these names is derived from its resemblance to a tree in the other Australian colonies, from the leaves of which an infusion something like tea is prepared. It takes its name paper-bark from the extreme thinness of its numberless coatings, similar to the bark of the birch-tree, of a delicate light-brown colour. The natives strip the bark off in large masses, to cover their temporary huts. It is used for the same purpose by travellers in the bush, in default of tents; and by many it is preferred to the leaves of the grass-tree, for a bush-couch, when drained of its moisture, and well dried before the fire. The wood of this tree is hard and elastic. It might make good shafts and felloes for wheels. A piece of the bark placed in the hollow scooped in the ground is used by the natives to hold water. Also a piece folded into the shape of a cup is used for drinking. It is also used for wrapping up frogs or fish, to stew them in the embers.

Kolin, v.—To deceive. See Gulin.

Kolo, v.—Denoting motion in general. Used by the tribes in the east of Perth instead of Bardo—as Watto bart, or Watto kolo, be off, go away with you; Winji badin, or Winji kolin, where are you going?

Kolo, s.—A flea; a louse. It is doubtful whether fleas are indigenous. The natives say not, and they have no distinct name for them. Lice abound; Kolo is the name for them. The natives pick them out and eat them.

Kol-yurăng, v.—Pres. part., Kolyurăngwin; past tense, Kolyurăng-ăga. To beat anything to powder; to pound; to melt.

Kombuil, s.—One of the trees from which the native shields are made The other is the Kirdil. See Wunda.

Komma, s.—Patersonia occidentalis (a plant).

Kolo, s.—The excrement.

Kona, s.—The anus. The natives to the east of the hills are said to be much addicted to an unnatural vice, whilst those to the west speak of it in terms of horror and detestation.

Konak, ad.—A species of crawfish.

Konakmarh-ra, s.—Scorpion.

Konang, v.—Pres, part., Konangwin; past tense, Konang-ăgga. To void the excrement.

Konang, s.—Bowels.

Kopil, s.—Sleep.

Kopin, ad.—Secretly—as Kopinijow, to hide; to place secretly.

Kopotjăn, v.—To make the same noise as the Gaddara, or steamer-duck.

Koragong, or Wurdo, s.—A species of fungus growing on the ground, of a sweetish taste, red-coloured, and very juicy.

Korbuil, a.—(Upper Swan dialect.) Fat; in good condition—as applied to animals; the opposite of Wiribal.

Korel, s.—Shells in general; sea-shells.

Koroylbardang, s.—The tall green-flowered Anigozanthus.

Kortda, ad.—Apart; separately. Wallăkwallăk.

Kotajumeno, s.—The name given in the Murray River district to the Naganok family.

Kot-ye, s.—A bone.

Kot-yedak, a.—Bony.

Kot-yelara, a.—Thin; bony.

Kot-yenin-gara, s.—Chrysorroe nitens, a shrub bearing a large brilliant dark-orange flower.

Kowănyăng, v.—Pres, part., Kowanyang; past tense; Kowanyang. To swim. See Bilyi.

Kowar, s.—Trichoglossus, screaming-parrot.

Kowat, s.—A young sister.

Koweda, or Kower, s.—Viminaris denudata; the broom-tree.

Kow-win, s.—Water.

Kudjidi, s.—Leptospermum augustifolia; the sweet-scented leptospermum. A slender, graceful shrub.

Kubit, s.—(Used to the south of Perth, on the Murray and Serpentine rivers.) The male kangaroo.

Kubert, s.—A species of tea-tree, of which spears are made. Found in swamps.

Kukubert, s.—Ægotheles albogularis; the small black goat-sucker. The natives believe that the kangaroos were at one time blind and without the sense of smell, so that they might be readily approached and killed; but that they have had the faculties of seeing and of smelling imparted or restored to them by this bird, which is also supposed to have the power of afflicting human beings with sore eyes.

Kulbul, kulbuldtan, v.—To cough. The hooping-cough was at one time introduced among them by the arrival of a regiment. They attributed the illness to the blasts of the bugler.

Kulgi, s.—The hip.

Kulinda, s.—The young of the Kardara, or long-tailed tree Iguana.

Kuljak, s.—The black swan. The family ancestors of the Ballaroks are reputed to be these birds changed into men.

Kul-yir, s.—(K.G.S.) Mist; fog.

Kumal, s.—Phalangista vulpina; large grey opossum. This animal forms a great resource for food to the natives, who climb the tallest trees in search of them, and take them from the hollow branches.

Kumbărdăng, s.—Night.

Kumbul—(K.G.S.) A species of flat fish.

Kunart, or Kwonnăt, s.—A species of acacia abundant on the banks of estuaries, and in districts having salt lakes. It produces a great quantity of gum in the summer months. From the seeds of this tree the natives to the south obtain, by pounding them, a flour, which they make into dampers, or unleavened bread.

Kundagur, s.—A species of Zamia found near the coast.

Kundăm, s.—A dream.

Kundam-ngwundow—To dream.

Kundarnangur—(K.G.S.) To thunder; to rend the clouds.

Kundart—(K.G.S.) A cloud.

Kudi, s.—A species of marsupial rat. Colonially, Bandicoot. It is something like a guinea-pig, and is very good for eating.

Kundu, s.—The chest.

Kundu, s.—The coagulated blood exuded from a wound.

Kundyl, s.—Young grass springing after the country has been burned; anything very young still growing; tender; the soft inside of anything, as the crumb of bread; the interior of the zamia plant; the seed of any plant.

Kungar, s.—(K.G.S.) Perspiration.

Kun-go, s.—A path; a beaten track.

Kunng-gur, s.—A young woman who has attained the period of puberty, which is at a very early age.

Kun-yi, s.—The fillet or band of opossum fur worn round the head.

Kup—(K.G.S.) Charcoal.

Kurabug—(K.G.S.) A species of fly.

Kurbon, s.—Frost. Though slight, it is sufficient to injure the young potatoes in the months of May and June, if not attended to before the sun shines upon them.

Kuredjigo, s.—A root eaten by the natives.

Kurg-in-yugow, v.—To shiver with cold or fear.

Kurni—(K.G.S.) A species of frog.

Kurrang, s.—The grub of the Menna; Acacia Greyana.

Kurren (K.G.S.)—A species of shrub to which medical properties are attributed by the natives of King George's Sound. It is a sensitive plant, and when dying assumes an unnatural pale yellow colour, and emits a smell like most powerful garlic; in this state the natives use it in cases of headache, waving it under the nose of the patient.

Kurrolo, s.—Kennedia Hardenbergia; purple Kennedia creeper.

Kurrut—(K.G.S.) A species of ant.

Kuruba, s.—The fruit of a creeper eaten by the natives. It is of a long slender, ovate shape, and when roasted in the fire is of a plesant slight lemon-peel flavour. It is one of the very few things which can be considered as approaching to an indigenous fruit.


Kwakar—(K.G.S.) A small species of kangaroo.

Kwalak—(K.G.S.) A species of ant.

Kwela, s.—A species of casuarina.

Kwinin—(K.G.S.) The nut of a species of zamia.

Kwoggyn, s.—Soul; spirit.

Kwonda, s.—A very deadly species of snake. See Kabarda.

Kwonnat, s.—A species of acacia.. See Kunărt.

Kwoy-alang, s.—Soul; spirit.

Kwyt-yat—Melaleuca hamata; having leaves like those of a pine or fir tree, only hooked at the end; found always in wet or damp soils.

Ky-a, s.—(Northern dialect.) An emu.

Ky-a—(Eastern dialect.) Yes. Ky at King George's Sound.

Ky-a-ky-a, in.—An exclamation of surprise or delight; sometimes of gratitude.

Kyalamăk—Look there, in that direction (for a thing).

Ky-an—(North-eastern dialect.) Nothing.

Ky-ărgung, s.—A small piece of snake.

Ky-bra, s.—The name given to a ship, reason not known.

Ky-li, s.—A flat curved throwing weapon, made plain on one side, and slightly convex on the other, with one end rather longer from the bend or curve than the other. It is held by the longer handle, and on stiff soils is thrown so as to strike the ground with one end, about ten or twelve yards from the thrower, whence it rebounds into the air with a rapid rotary motion, and after having performed a long circumgyration, frequently in two circles, or like the figure 8, it returns nearly to the spot whence it was thrown. It seems to be as much a weapon for treachery as of direct attack. When the eye is diverted by its motions, the opportunity is taken to strike with the spear. They are much valued by the natives, and not readily parted with. This weapon offers a faint clue by which the origin of the people might possibly be traced. The use of curved or angular weapons, is said to have been known to several nations of remote antiquity. The possession of such an implement by the Australian savage, would go to prove an early communication with some more civilised people, or the enjoyment of a much higher degree of knowledge among themselves, before they relapsed into their present state of utter barbarism. The same may be said of the Miro, or throwing-board for the spear. It is sometimes used also to throw at birds.

Kyn, a.—(Northern dialect.) One.

Kynkar—(K.G.S.) A father.

Kyn-ya, s.—Soul; spirit.

Kypbi, s.—Water. This is most probably the true word, of which Gabbi is our corrupt pronunciation. At King George's Sound, where the language is for the most part that of Perth reduced to monosyllables, Kyp, is water; as Kat is the head, instead of Katta, and Kal is fire, instead of Kalla.