Kamilaroi language

The Kamilaroi language, from the word Kamil or Kumil meaning main soul, was traditionally spoken over a vast area of north-central New South Wales when Europeans began colonising Australia. Kamilaroi country extended west of the Great Dividing Range, apparently from as far south as around Singleton in the Hunter Valley, through the areas where Tamworth, Narrabri, Moree, Boggabilla, Mungindi, Collarenebri, Walgett,  Lighting Ridge, Mungindi and Nindigully in south west Queensland are now located.

The earliest European records we have of the Kamilaroi language date from February 1832 when the explorer Major Thomas Mitchell collected some basic vocabulary.

Yamoan in Kamilaroi means hello. “Yamada yada, engemba” Hello everybody, how are you?

The Kamilaroi were regarded as fierce warriors and there is ample evidence of inter tribal warfare.

Kamilaroi mythology includes Baiame, the ancestor or patron god. The Baiame myth tells how Baiame came down from the sky to the land, and created rivers, mountains, and forests. He then gave the people their laws of life, traditions, songs, and culture. He also created the first initiation site. This is known as a bora; a place where boys were initiated into manhood. When he had finished, he returned to the sky, and people called him the Sky Hero or All Father or Sky Father.

He is said to be married to Birrahgnooloo (Birran-gnulu), who is often identified as an emu, and with whom he has a son Daramulum (Dharramalan).

In rock paintings Baiame is often depicted as a human figure with a large head-dress or hairstyle, with lines of footsteps nearby. He is always painted in front view. Baiame is often shown with internal decorations such as waistbands, vertical lines running down the body, bands and dots.