Wakka Wakka

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Wakka Wakka are an indigenous Australian people of the state of Queensland.


"Wakka" is their word for "no",[1] as ethnonyms based on the reduplication of the respective words for "no" were markers distinguishing one tribe from another in the area, as is also the case with the adjacent Gubbi Gubbi or Kabi Kabi.[2]


Their language, Wakawaka, belongs to the Waka–Kabic branch of the Pama-Nyungan languages. Linguistic work by the Presbyterian minister John Mathew and, more recently, by linguists such as Nils Holmer, means there is an accompanying grammar to provide clues on how the language was constructed and spoken. However, there are few speakers and there is a real concern that the language is not spoken on a daily basis in communities to keep Wakka Wakka as a thriving, living language.[3]


Map of Traditional Lands of Australian Aboriginals around Brisbane and Sunshine Coast.[a]

Norman Tindale estimated that Wakawaka lands extended over some 4,100 square miles (11,000 km2), running northwards from Nanango to the area of Mount Perry. Their western extension was at the Boyne River, the upper Burnett River, and Mundubbera. They were also present in the areas of Kingaroy, Murgon, and Gayndah.[1]

History of contact[edit]

Many Wakka Wakka and Gubbi Gubbi people – along with many other groups from across Queensland – were shifted on to the Barambah Mission near Murgon in the early 20th century.

This mission later became the town of Cherbourg and is now self-administered by the Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council.

Wakka Wakka people have many important sites located throughout their territory, including Ban Ban Springs, Barambah Creek, a sacred area near Maidenwell, and in the foothills of the Bunya Mountains. There are also a number of bora rings which have survived destruction.

In pre-European times, the Wakka Wakka people were one of the many groups that took part in the regular bunya nut feasts at the Bunya Mountains and other large gatherings in other parts of the South Burnett.

Alternative names[edit]

  • Waa
  • Waka
  • Woga
  • Wakaa
  • Wakar, Wakkar, Wackar
  • Wakuwuka
  • Wogga
  • Wuka Wuka
  • Nukunukubara.(?)
  • Wapa. (Kabikabi exonym ="inlanders". )
  • Wa:bar. (applied to several tribes)
  • Mungar. (spotted gum tree people)[1]


  1. ^ This map is indicative only.



  • Tindale, Norman Barnett (1974). "Wakawaka (QLD)". Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits, and Proper Names. Australian National University Press.