Aboriginals are the indigenous people of Australia whose local rhythmic language inspired the European colonizing the continent in the 18th century. The Europeans’ inspiration for these poetic languages led to using Aboriginal Australian names for babies over time. Most of the names have positive meanings, which is a preferable quality sought in baby names. With compelling sounds, each known Aboriginal dialect and language offers an endless possibility to name a child. In 1788, at the time of European settlement, about 250 Indigenous Australian languages were spoken on the continent, including 800 dialectal varieties. Nevertheless, there are more than 100 Aboriginal dialects in Australia, making the meaning of Aboriginal names hard to define. Although a few Aboriginal languages and dialects are now extinct, the remaining ones are widely used. Therefore, by naming your child with an Aboriginal Australian baby name, you would also increase the languages’ existence. So, look at the names inspired by these languages if you are looking for something exotic.
Aboriginal Girl Names
Alinta is a feminine name, meaning ‘flame’ in the traditional South Australian language. This moniker will fit perfectly into the trend of feminine names beginning and ending with vowels like Aria, Ava, Amelie. It was the name of one of the main characters in “Women of the Sun”, a 1981 mini-series.
We believe this moniker would be familiar with most of our Aussie members, thanks to two of the most distinguished bearers, Bindi Irwin, daughter of late Steve Irwin and the prickly weeds that hide in the grass and hurt the feet. In an unknown dialect, this name means ‘little girl’ and in the Nyungar language of Western Australia, it’s called ‘butterfly.’
This Aboriginal name, meaning, ‘little wild goose’ was the name of the titular character in the movie “Jedda,” an Australian film that starred two Aboriginal actors in the lead roles. We think it would make a lovely choice for a modern Aussie and American girl as it ticks the boxes of femininity, originality, and strength.
Kirra translates to ‘leaf’ in the Yugambeh language native to the Gold Coast in Queensland. Is also the name of a suburb called Kirra Beach in Queensland? In the Murri dialect of southern Queensland, Kirra means ‘to live.’ If you want a modern spelling for this name, pick Kiera or Keira.
Marlee is the name of a town in South Wales. This moniker means ‘elderberry tree’ in the Biripi language. We particularly love the double ‘ee’ in this name. This moniker also recalls the cute, yellow puppy from the movie “Marley and Me.”
Despite its popularity with the super popular English name Miranda, Merindah has a beauty and a rhythm of its own. This moniker truly deserves the meaning ‘beautiful’, which it means in one of the Aboriginal languages in and around Sydney.
Lowanna means ‘woman’ in the Tasmanian dialect, and ‘girl’ in the Gumbaynggir language of New South Wales. This moniker is said to describe an object of exquisite beauty, which your daughter is definitely is. This delightful moniker also comes with a range of nicknames too, like Lowie, Anna, and Lo.
Some people may think that Rianna is actually the original spelling of Rihanna, but this moniker actually means ‘caterpillar’ in the Palawa Language. Still sounds weird to you? Well, the butterfly is considered to possess the soul of the diseased person in some Aboriginal cultures.
Talia, the name of the coastal town in South Australia would make a hip and happening name for your daughter. This name has high chances of crossing over into the American and European countries because of the increasing popularity of Talia Richman, the Brisbane model. The meaning of Talia is ‘near waters’.
Allira is a variation of the Aboriginal word ‘allirea’ and means ‘clear crystal quartz.’ Allirea is a word inspired by the Melbourne area of Victoria. But in the language of Arrernte people from the Alice Springs in Australia, Allira means ‘niece.’ It rightly deserves all the popularity and love it is receiving in Australia.
Tarni, the onomatopoeic word used to describe the sound of the surf in the Kaurna language could make a potential name for your baby girl. In fact, it’s used heavily by the indigenous people. The ice hockey player Tarni Loreggian and the rock band singer Tarni Carter are two most prominent people with this name.
This moniker means both ‘month’ and ‘moon’ in the Nyungar language of the Western Australia. Besides, it’s also a Japanese name meaning ‘God’s child.’ And most importantly, this multicultural name has the sparkle of the metallic mica. Its namesake would be Mika Brzezinski, the American television host, and journalist.
This moniker is inspired by the local phase “merri”, which means ‘very rocky.’ The meaning may not be overtly feminine, but its association with the English name Mary and English word ‘merry’ makes it a great pick for girls. Merri is also the name of a creek in the Southern Victoria that joins river Yarra flowing through the Melbourne city.
Maya means ‘home or house’ in the Kiwari language of the Kimberly region in Western Australia. There are similar words in other indigenous languages that denote other meanings like ‘shelter’ or ‘hut’. This also explains why names like Mia and Maya are so popular in Australia.
The ultra-feminine name means ‘love and affection’ in the Wemba-Wemba language of New South Wales and Victoria. Besides being used in the indigenous Australia, Kalina is also known throughout the Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, where it means ‘viburnum,’ the flowering shrub. Princess Kalina of Bulgaria is its most famous bearer.
We have no idea about the origin of this word name, but it’s probably believed to mean ‘see.’ Kalinda Ashton, the award-winning author of Melbourne, is its most famous namesake. This moniker has also made to Hollywood. Kalinda was the name of a character in the television series “The Good Wife”.
There are several Aboriginal names that refer to their geography. One such name is Allora, which is the name of a town in Queensland. It’s making a fresh alternative to the Hebrew name, “the Lord is my light’.
Koorie or Korrie is inspired by the name of a place in Victoria and New South Whales. We think Koori would make an appealing nickname or middle name.
Cardinia is a place name inspired by the name of a place on the outskirts of Melbourne. It believed to be derived from the word Kar-din-yarr and means ‘look to the sunrise.’
As per the Aboriginal legends, Darana was one of the deities during the Dreamtime. This mythological witch created grubs, put it in the bag and then hung it from the tree.
This tongue twisting, yet the pleasing name is taken from the Pintupi language. Two of the renowned bearers of this name are Anmanari Napanangka and Anmanari Brown, the Aboriginal painters.
It’s time to move past Isabella, Anabella, and pick Brindabella for your daughter. This Australian girl name comes from the Brindabella mountain range on the border of the Australian Capital Territory and New South Wales.
Angoona is a rarely used Warlpiri name with an unknown meaning. Its renowned bearer is Angoona Nangala, the mother of the famous Aboriginal painter Ngoia Pollard Napaltjarri.
This sophisticated name belongs to the Pitjantjatjara language, but the meaning is unknown. One of the known bearers of this name is Alkawari Dawson, the Australian painter and the wife of Nakul Dawson, her fellow painter.
Myaree is a beautiful Australian Aboriginal name and means ‘foliage.’ We think it would be an excellent idea to select a nature name that’s not inspired by typical flowers and leaves.
Karri is an Australian Aboriginal word for the Eucalyptus tree. The eucalyptus diversicolor is found abundant in the southwestern region of the Western Australia. You can use it as a short form for the name Charisma or Keira.
This moniker apparently means ‘black swan’ in the Turrubal or Kabi language. It’s associated with Maroochy Barambah, an Australian singer.
Here’s a cool and usable animal inspired name for you. Lehan means ‘kangaroo’ in the Palawa language of the Tasmania region. It’s also the name of a suburb in Hobart.
Ellin is a beautiful Australian Aboriginal baby girl name, meaning ‘wish.’ This sensitive and clear-eyed name keeps swinging in and out of style.
The place name Elanora is derived from the Australian Aboriginal word, meaning ‘home by the water or home by the sea’. This name can also work as an alternative to Eleanor.
Inala is the name of the suburb in Brisbane, meaning ‘night time or rest time.’ But in the Aboriginal language, this moniker translates to ‘place of peace’. Both the meanings are beautiful nevertheless.
If you want an astronomical name for your daughter, but are tired of the overused Luna and straightforward Moon, pick Jannali. Meaning ‘moon,’ Jannali is sure to help your child stand out from the crowd.
Kareela, the name of a Brisbane suburb can also be used as a name for your daughter. It means ‘grass around a waterhole’ in the local language.
Aboriginal Boy Names
Derived from English, the Aboriginal name Willow refers to the elegant “willow tree.” The word comes from the Old English term -welig. The name was also topographical and referred to someone living near a willow tree in the past.
Pronounced as ‘eye-loo’ka’, Iluka is the name of a coastal town in New South Wales and means ‘near the sea’ in the Bndajalong language. You can even consider it as a male counterpart to Talia. And indeed a fresh alternative to Luka. To make it even more fun, use Iluka and Talia for your boy-girl twin. You can also shorten it to Illy for the nickname. Cute, isn’t it?
Moti would make a great name for your boy name. This name means ‘black-necked stork’ in an unknown Aboriginal language. Some people may even mistake it for the short form of the stuffy name Montgomery. At least, you will have a great story to tell when you are correcting them.
If you are looking for an original name with a significant meaning, pick Koa. This fun alternative of Kai and Noah means ‘crow’ in the Kaurna language of the super popular city Adelaide. Koa is also a Hawaiian name, meaning ‘warrior’ and is the type of acacia tree native to Hawaii.
This moniker sounds exactly like the English name, Warren, but the meanings are disparate. It means ‘winter’ in one of the Aboriginal languages of Sydney and means ‘park keeper’ in English. Which meaning do you find cooler?
In the Wiradjuri language, this adorable name means ‘laughing star.’ You can shorten this name to Jim or Jimmy if you want to give it an English touch, but it would lose much of its charm. It was also the name the local Aboriginals gave to Mary Gilmore, the Australian poet.
This name means ‘swelling or bruise’ in the Bundjalong language of the New South Wales. And in the Meriam language of the Torres Strait Island, this name means ‘yellow.’ You just need to avoid the sad meaning of this name.
Dural is a word from the Dharug language and means ‘valley or gully.’ Some say that Dural comes from the word ‘dooral dooral’ and means ‘burning log.’ It’s also the name of a semi-rural suburb in Sydney.
Kuparr is referred to an ochre used for making body paint and means ‘red earth’ in the Ngiyampaa language of the New South Wales. The appealing factor of this name is that it sounds like Cooper. So if you find Cooper boring and slightly surname kid, you can use Kuparr for your child.
If you want a musical name for your child, pick Banjo, a musical instrument played widely by the Aboriginals. This moniker would also honor Banjo Paterson, the poet of “Clancy of the Overflow’ that tells the story of a Clancy, a drover.
Tau is a Kaurna word, meaning ‘twilight’ or ‘dusk.’ This name is also similar to the Chinese word Tao, which means ‘the natural order of the things.’ And with the popularity of three letter names like Kai and Taj, even Tau would fit right in the bill.
The name or word Jarli means ‘barn owl’ in the Jiwarli language of Western Australia. In some of the Aboriginal cultures, the owl is considered a symbol of wisdom. So we just suggested a cool and uncommon animal inspired name to you. Or you can even consider it as a trendy alternative to Charlie.
In the Kaurna language of South Australia, Kaiya means ‘spear.’ It’s also used for a species of Caddisfly, called so for its distinctive bard-like projections. This moniker is often listed as a girl’s name, but the element Kai makes it look masculine. And neither the meaning of this name is ‘feminine’. You can say it’s a unisex name.
Daku, a South Australian name meaning ‘sand hill’ in the Diyari language sounds as exotic as the desert it is inspired from. It doesn’t really need to be shortened, but if you are considering a nickname, pick Dak. It would sound very cool.
If you want something fun and frolicking as a name for your son, pick Tarka, which means ‘eggshell’ in the Kaurna language of South Australia. The fun fact is that it’s also the name of a type of seasoning in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. You can use Tak as the nickname for Tarka. We think it would be very charming.
This name is inspired by the Bouddi Peninsula in the Central Coast region of the New South Wales. And there’s a town named Bouddi in the city of Gosford. And And And, there’s a Bouddi National Park in Australia. The meaning of Bouddi is ‘heart’ in the Darkinyung language.
The name Warragul is derived from a local word Warrigal and means either ‘wild dog’ or ‘dog.’ This moniker actually refers to dingo, the largest predator on the Australian land. And of course, Warragul is also the name of a town in the West Gippsland Victoria.
Anatjari is a cool name of the Pintupi language. Painters Anatjari Tjampitjinpa and Anatjari Tjakamarra are the known bearers of this moniker. It was once one of the most used name in Australia, but its popularity has slipped down now.
The meaning of Colebee is not really known, but some people believe it to be the source of English name or surname Colby.
Djarrtjuntjun is a complicated name, and most of the people may find it difficult to spell and pronounce. It means ‘roots of the paperback tree.’ Educator and musician Mandawuy Djarrtjuntjun Yunupingu is the respected bearer of this name.
Here’s another unique moniker to consider for your child. Djalu is an Australia baby boy name and means ‘lightning.’ It is associated with Djalu Gurruwwiwi, the Aboriginal didgeridoo player and maker.
This moniker is multicultural and sounds extremely attractive. It’s the name of a rural suburb in Victoria, Australia and means ‘walk or roam’ And most importantly, it’s considered usable in Australia.
Jabiru is the terms used for the ‘black-necked stork’ by the Aboriginals of the Northern Territory. The fact that it’s the only stork species native to Australia makes this name even more appealing.
Mangana isn’t an unusual name for the boys to have in Australia. It’s native to the Tasmanians of Australia. It also belongs to the father of Truganini, the last full-blooded Tasmanian Aboriginal.
Omeo, meaning ‘mountains, hills’ in the Gunaikurnai language is the name of a town in Victoria, set high in the Great Dividing Range. This name has seen a substantial use, particularly among the people of Omeo.
When you can have Djarrtjuntjun, why not Mandawuy, which sounds way more usable than the former. The meaning of Mandawuy is ‘from clay’.
Jarrah is the term for the eucalyptus marginata tree in the Australia. This tree is one of the most common species of Eucalyptus tree found in southwestern Australia. Even the wood of this tree is referred as Jarrah.
The name Gurumarra means ‘dry lightning or lightning with no thunder’ in the Australian Aboriginal language, Gunggay dialect to be precise. This moniker is quite popular as a name for organizations and businesses.
Lue is the name of a small village in one of the regions of South Wales. This moniker means ‘chain of waterholes’ in the Dabee language of the Wiradjuri group. It makes us think that it could work as an alternative to the common names Louie or Louis.
This Indigenous Australian name is used widely by the people of Walmajarri. This name must be sounding familiar to the ears of the Aussies. Its famous bearer if Mawukura, the Australian artist.
The Aboriginal language does not put stress on a single syllable. Each syllable is given equal emphasis. The accent is usually put on the first and second last syllable. The pronunciation of most of the words and names is corrupted and tend to differ from the original pronunciation. And with languages on the verge of disappearing, there is no concrete idea on how they are supposed to be called.
These beautiful and powerful Aboriginal Australian names deviate from common English names. Hence, they are ideal for parents searching for unique and meaningful monikers for their babies. Most of them are traditional and represent the rich culture of the Indigenous Australians. If the meanings and syntax of these names capture your attention, we suggest finding an Aboriginal Australian name that suits your little one. Hence, discuss with your partner to find a name that honors the culture of Aboriginal Australians and is worthy of your baby.
Infographic: Aboriginal Australian Names For Boys And Girls
The Australian Aboriginal people are the indigenous people of the island country. In the following infographic, we have selected a few names from their culture and listed them for you to take inspiration from while deciding on a name for your baby. So, read on!
- Indigenous names; AIATSIS