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Every day we greet each other without even thinking about it. In Australia, we often do it in English – but sometimes depending on our background or interests, we add a little spice. The odd bonjour (French) or konnichiwa (Japanese).

But what if this Australia Day we spoke our greetings in the languages that grew up here?

Our first languages are fascinating, have existed thousands of years but only recently being documented. There are still huge gaps, but we learn more every day.

If you’re keen to learn too – here’s how to say “hello” in some of the areas around our state capitals.


From Adelaide?

In the Kaurna language you might try saying “Niina marni?” (Are you good?) in place of “How’re you going?” or “Wanti niina?” (Where are you going?) which is often used as a greeting.

From Brisbane? 

For the Yugara and Yagarabul language, try saying “Wunya” (Welcome/Greetings) or “Gurumba bigi” (Good day).

From Canberra? 

In the Ngunnawal language, say “Yumalundi” (Hello) to greet someone.

From Darwin? 

There are very few people who speak the Larrakia language, so from the Yolngu Matha language in nearby Arnhem Land why not try “Märr-ŋamathirri” (Welcome).

From Hobart? 

In Tasmania, the remaining Aboriginal language we have records of is a composite known as “palawa kini”. From this, you can try “Ya pulingina” (Hello, welcome) or simply “Ya” (Hello).

From Melbourne? 

From the Kulin language, try saying “Wominjeka” (Hello/Welcome) when you greet somebody.

From Perth? 

In the Noongar language try saying “Kaya” (Hello) this Australia Day.

From Sydney? 

In the Gadigal/Dharug language, you could either say “Bujari gamaruwwa” (Good day) or “Budyeri kamaru” (Hello).

Our beautiful country is so big, it’s hard to cover everyone. If you’re from one of the fantastic places outside our major cities and want to explore our first languages this Australia Day one resource you can use is Gambay: Australian First Languages map.

Want to discover more this Australia Day?