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The Kwiambal were an indigenous Australian people of New South Wales.


The ethnonym is formed from their word for 'no', transcribed by early ethnographers as quie/koi,[1][2][3] and the suffix bal, which denotes a tribal grouping.[4]


Norman Tindale assigned to the Kwiambal a territorial domain of roughly 800 square miles (2,100 km2) around the lower Severn River and in the area of Ashford and Fraser's Creek.[5] To their south were the Jukambal

Tribal status[edit]

In his account of a journey south of Brisbane in 1855, the Presbyterian missionary William Ridley wrote

I came down the Gwydir to the Bundarra, and over that river to Warialda. The aborigines I found at Warialda, twelve in number, speak Kamilaroi as well as Uolaroi; but they were the last I met who spoke to me in the former language. A day's journey northward from Warialda, I found blacks speaking Yukumba; and on the Macintyre, 70 miles from Warialda, Pikumbul is the prevailing language.[6]

Tindale intuited that the geographic context a day's riding from Warialda would imply that these people, whom Ridley called Yukumba, must have been Kwiambal. At the same time he did not exclude the possibility that they may have been a horde of the Jukambal. The objections to merging the Kwiambal with Jukambal, or vice versa, were twofold: the size of their estimated territory was too large to refer to a clan or band society, and, secondly, the ethnonym Kwiambal has a -bal tribal suffix.[7]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Koi.
  • Kweembul.
  • Quieumble.
  • Queenbulla.[8]

Some words[edit]

  • goone (whiteman)
  • maroni. (kangaroo)
  • menni. (tame dog)
  • parpinga. (father)
  • kuppenea. (mother)[9]



  1. ^ Wyndham 1889, p. 36.
  2. ^ Magistrates 1887, p. 229.
  3. ^ Wafer, Lissarrague & Harkins 2008, p. 337.
  4. ^ Kite & Wurm 2004, p. 3.
  5. ^ Tindale 1974, p. 196.
  6. ^ Ridley 1861, p. 443.
  7. ^ Tindale 1974, pp. 194,196.
  8. ^ Tindale 1974, p. 194.
  9. ^ Magistrates 1887, p. 298.