Muthi Muthi

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Muthi Muthi
IBRA 6.1 Riverina.png
Language family:Pama–Nyungan
Language branch:Kulin
Language group:Western
Group dialects:Madhi Madhi
Location:Northern Riverina and Far West regions of New South Wales
Coordinates:33°30′S 145°30′E / 33.500°S 145.500°E / -33.500; 145.500
Urban areas
Notable individuals

The Muthi Muthi people, also written Matimati are an Indigenous Australians people whose traditional lands are located in the Northern Riverina and Far West regions of New South Wales.


The Muthi Muthi/Matimati endonym is formed from the doubling of their word for "speech", namely mut(h)/mut.Most tribes in this area define themselves with a reduplicative form of their respective words for "no", which in Matimati is yeto.[1]


The last relatively fluent speaker of Maḏi maḏi was Jack Long, a full-blooded nonagenarian Madimadi living at Point Pearce. He was located late in life, in the 1960s, and, a man of outstanding intelligence, he enabled Luise Hercus to record much of what we now know of the language.[2]


Muthi Muthi territory covered an estimated 2,200 square miles (5,700 km2) of land, with a southeastern boundary beneath Balranald to the northern boundaries of the Watiwati, and running north of the Murrumbidgee River. The Nari-Nari lay directly east, the Yitayita were on their northeastern flank, while directly north were the Barindji. On their upper western boundary were the Kureinji, and, further south the Tatitati.[3] Tindale argues that their western boundaries approached the areas of Lake Benanee and at Reedy Lake, and ran from north to west of Carrawathal.[4]

Muthi Muthi lands include the Willandra Lakes Region World Heritage Area, Mungo National Park, Yanga National Park, Booligal National Park, Nimmie Caira and the Lowbidgee Conservation Area.[citation needed]


It has been inferred, by Norman Tindale among others, that the Muthimuthi were close related to their Yitayita tribal neighbours, since their word for "no", jeto is similar to the Jitajita word.[5] Linguistically they differ, notably in that unlike Yitayita, Maḏi maḏi was completely lacking in monosyllabic words.[6]

Alternative names[edit]

  • Muti muti, Mutte Mutte
  • Matimati, Madi-madi
  • Mataua
  • Moorta Moorta
  • Matthee-matthee
  • Bakiin (southern exonym for the tribe meaning "stealthy marauders by night").[4]

Native title[edit]

In 1997 a claim for native title was made by Muthi Muthi descendants for an area in the south of New South Wales before the Federal Court of Australia. In Pappin on behalf of the Muthi Muthi People v Attorney-General of New South Wales [2017] FCA 76, the court rejected the claim on the basis of errors in the application, which did not meet the criteria set forth in law.[7][8]

Notable people[edit]

Some words[edit]

  • tirili (sky)[9]



  1. ^ Tindale 1974, pp. 41,197.
  2. ^ Evans 2001, p. 262.
  3. ^ Hercus 1989, p. 44.
  4. ^ a b Tindale 1974, p. 197.
  5. ^ Tindale 1974.
  6. ^ Hercus 2013, p. 116.
  7. ^ AIATSIS 2017, p. 4.
  8. ^ AustLII 2017.
  9. ^ Hercus 2013.