85 Australian Aboriginal Names (with Meanings)
Australian Aboriginal Peoples are the native people who inhabited Australia before English colonization in the 19th century. Their culture is unique and ancient, dating back nearly 30,000 years.
The Australian Aboriginal Peoples are made up of two different ethnic groups the Indigenous peoples of Australia and the Torres Strait Islander People. There once were over 200 Aboriginal languages and hundreds more dialects. Most indigenous Australians spoke more than one language or dialect.
Their languages often became the names of their tribes or how they referred to one another. Between the different groups, boundaries were often blurred, meaning that there was no one language assigned to a specific cultural identity in many areas.
Related: Ancient Mesopotamian Surnames and Meanings
Today, some names commonly used by Indigenous Australians, have unclear origins. We have done our best to cultivate a list of names spanning multiple Aboriginal cultures and languages but understand that, in some cases, our information may be incomplete.
Aboriginal languages and dialects are still spoken across northern Australia. however, even some of the most commonly spoken languages today are endangered of becoming extinct. The most recent data from the 2021 Australian census estimated that less than 80,000 people in Australia today are native speakers.
If you want to learn more about this unique culture, check out our list of Aboriginal baby names and meanings for boys and girls.
Popular Aboriginal Names and Meanings
Many Aboriginal baby names have positive meanings and offer a glimpse into the languages of the Indigenous Australian people.
Some aboriginal names have become cross-cultural and are used by those outside the culture. In some cases, parents may choose a name, thinking it is pretty or cute, but don’t understand the meaning or origins of the name. Explore a few of the most popular Aboriginal baby names and their meanings.
- Bindi - Noongar. A girl’s name that means Butterfly. Bindi Irwin is a famous Australian that has this moniker.
- Coen - A boy’s name that means thunder. It is sometimes spelled Koen.
- Jedda- Noongar. This popular girl’s name means wren or little wild goose.
- Koa - Kaurna. A boy’s name which crow. It also means brave or warrior in Hawaiian.
- Kylie - Kylie is a girl’s name that means boomerang in the Noongar language. Kylie Minogue is an Australian-born pop star.
- Keria - Dharawal. A girl’s name that means high mountain or large lagoon. It is also a Celtic name.
- Marli - Noongar. Black swan. Another possible meaning is old tree.
- Mia - This girl’s name is the Nyungar word for moon.
Aboriginal Nature Names and Meanings
Like other indigenous cultures, the Aboriginal culture places a significant emphasis on the relationship with nature. As a result, some beautiful and unique names inspired by nature are found in the Aboriginal languages.
Aboriginal Girl Names Inspired by Nature
- Allira - Clear, crystal quartz.
- Arika - Waka-Waka. Blue lily.
- Cardinia - The dawn.
- Jannali - Moon. Other spellings include Janali or Jannalee.
- Kareela- Grass around the waterhole.
- Karri - Eucalyptus tree.
- Lenah - Palawa. Kangaroo.
- Marlee - Birpi. Elderberry tree.
- Marchooy - Turrubal/Kabi. Black swan.
- Medika - Blossom or flower.
- Merri - Very rocky. It is also an English name meaning joyful.
- Myaree - Foliage.
- Rianna - Palawa. Caterpillar.
- Tahnee - Kauran. Breaking of the waves.
- Talia - Talia is a common Hebrew name that means dew. But it is also an Aboriginal name meaning near the water.
- Yindi - Sun.
Aboriginal Boy Names Inspired by Nature
- Balun - River.
- Birrani - It is the Wiradjuri word for boy.
- Callagun - Blue fig.
- Daku - Diyari. Sandhill.
- Dural - Dharug. Valley.
- Djalu - This unique name means lightning.
- Gonnagulla - Sky.
- Gurumarra - Dry lightning or lightning with no thunder. It is from the Gunggay dialect.
- Jarli - Barn owl.
- Kuparr - Ngiyampaa. Red earth.
- Mandawuy - From clay.
- Monti - This funky little name means black-necked stork.
- Nullah - Dharug. It is the word for a club or hunting stick.
- Omeo - GunaiKurnai. Mountains or hills.
- Tau - Karuna. Twilight or dusk.
- Tidam - This name from the Waghiwoori tribes means star.
- Warragul - Wild dog or dingo.
- Warrin - This name stems from an Aboriginal language close to Sydney and means winter.
- Yarramundi - Deep water.
- Yarran - Wiradjuri. Acacia tree. A strong wood commonly used to make tools.
Inspirational Aboriginal Names and Meanings
Aboriginal languages have a poetic sound and lend themselves to inspirational meanings. Like many native cultures, the Australian Aboriginal Peoples' cultures are connected with nature and the universe and find deep meaning in words.
Inspirational Aboriginal Girl Names
- Alinta - Noongar. Flame.
- Anmanari - The meaning of this beautiful name is unknown, but it is believed to stem from the Pintupi language.
- Darana - this unique name means mythological witch. Darana was an aboriginal deity.
- Ellin - This name is said to mean wish. It is also a variation of the Greek name Helen meaning light.
- Inala - Place of peace or nighttime.
- Kalina - Wemba-Wemba. Love and affection. It also means unblemished in Hawaiian.
- Killara - Dharug. Always there, permanent.
- Kirra - Murri Dialect to live. It also means leaf in the Yugambeh language.
- Lowanna - The name means girl or woman but is used to describe someone of exceptional beauty. The name initially stems from Tasmania.
- Merindah - This moniker comes from the Gadigal people of Eastern Australia. It means beautiful.
Inspirational Aboriginal Boy Names
- Allambee - A quiet place. To remain.
- Banjo - A stringed musical instrument. Andrew Barton, “Banjo,” wrote the lyrics to the song Waltzing Matilda the unofficial national anthem for Australia.
- Bouddi - Darkingyung. Heart.
- Jandamarra - Young warrior.
- Jiemba - Wiradjuri. This name is the aboriginal word for laughing star.
- Miro - Nyungar. Spear. It also means peace in Slavic.
- Ngarra - A name with multiple meanings; one meaning in the Dharug language is “together with you.”
- Waru - A name used in many Aboriginal languages. In the Pintupi language, it means fire. It is also used to describe the Milky Way.
Aboriginal Baby Names Inspired by Places
Aboriginal cultures have names that stem from places, famous structures, or geological features. Place names were a way to distinguish where someone came from, lived, or was connected to by tribe or family. A place name may have also indicated where someone was born or have a connection to their ancestors.
Aboriginal Girl Names Inspired by Places
- Allora - It is the name of a town in Queensland. It is said to mean the place of the swamp.
- Brindabella - This name sounds like something out of a fairytale. Brindabella is the name of a mountain range in New South Wales. The meaning of the name, however, is said to be “two kangaroo rats.”
- Elanora - Home by the water or home by the sea.
- Maya - Kiwari. House.
Aboriginal Boy Names Inspired by Places
- Illuka - It is the name of a coastal town in New South Wales and means near the sea.
- Jarrah - The name of a type of eucalyptus tree in southwestern Australia.
- Lue - It is the name of a village in South Wales. In the Dabee language, it means a chain of waterholes.
- Minjarra - This name comes from Western Australia and is the name of a plum bush prevalent in the Kimberly region.
- Monaro - Ngario. A high plateau or plains. It comes from the mountainous region in Southeast Australia.
- Yannathan - A variation on the Hebrew name Jonathan it is the name of a suburb in Victoria. It is also said to mean to walk or roam.
Uncommon Aboriginal Names and Meanings
Some less common aboriginal names are known because famous artisans or musicians bore the name. However, for many, the meaning is unknown.
- Alkawaro - A girl’s name with an unknown meaning. It comes from the Pitjantjatjara language.
- Angoona - Angoona is an uncommon girl’s name from the Warlpiri language. Its meaning is unknown.
- Antakari - A boy’s name with an unknown meaning, it was the name of a famous Aboriginal artist Anatjari Tjakamarra (1938 -1992).
- Bambam - This unique boy’s name means swelling or bruising in the Bundjalong language or yellow in the Meriam language from Torres Strait Island.
- Djarrtjuntjun - A boy’s name meaning roots of the paperback tree.
- Mangana - Pintupi. The meaning of this name is unknown, but some sources say it stands for compassion or destiny. It is a boy’s name.
- Pipipa - This cute girl’s name means sandpiper.
Unisex Aboriginal Names and Meanings
Unisex names are not as common in Aboriginal languages as in some other cultures; however, there are a few that parents could use in modern times for a baby of any gender.
- Ash - This name is reportedly a boy’s name that means happy. But it would be cute for a baby girl too.
- Maali - Noongar. Black swan. It may also mean an old tree. A variation on the name Marli.
- Colbee - Unknown origin. It is potentially a variation on the English surname Colby.
- Kaiya - Karuna. Spear. It is also a Japanese name meaning forgiveness.
- Koori - Koori is a place name for indigenous peoples near New South Wales. It comes from the Awabakal language.
- Tarni - Traditionally a girl’s name, Tarni means the sound of the surf or waves. We think it could cross over into a cool boy’s name too.
For more baby name inspiration check out these popular baby name lists:
- 110 Earthy Boy Names Inspired by Nature
- Top 1000 Most Popular Baby Boy Names in the U.S.
- Top 1000 Most Popular Baby Girl Names in the U.S.
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L. Elizabeth Forry, Preschool Lead
About L. Elizabeth Forry
L. Elizabeth Forry is an Early Childhood Educator with 15 years of classroom experience.