Timeline of Ngaiwang Recorders

Below is a short timeline showcasing a selection of the sources for the Ngaiwang language, and the Ngaiwang men who provided this knowledge for recording.

1798 – Tenberry is born

Alternate spellings: Denbry; Tenbury

Born in 1798, Tenberry was an established Ngaiwang Elder by the time the first wordlists of Ngaiwang appeared. He was often called a king by European writers. 

Key Point: Eyre cites Tenberry as a key cultural mediator between the Ngaiwang people and the Europeans.

1843 – Weatherstone records the first wordlist

A Sample of Weatherstone's Vocabulary

Weatherstone was a minister based in Adelaide from 1842 until 1844. His trip to the Riverland in 1843 led to the first recorded wordlist of the Ngaiwang language.

Significance: This wordlist contains more that 1500 words and includes vocabulary from all areas of life. It is a crucial work for understanding and revitalising the Ngaiwang language today.

1844 – Anonymous Wordlist

Only a year after Weatherstone wrote his wordlist, this unnamed source was written. It differs from Weatherstone with minor changes in spelling and definitions throughout. The wordlist ended up in the papers of Charles Sturt in England, it is located at the Bodleian library at Oxford today.

Significance: The many small differences between this wordlist and Weatherstone’s are clues to the pronunciation and culture surrounding the language.

1845 – Eyre’s Published Journals

A Sample of Moorhouse's Vocabulary

Eyre travelled throughout South Australia and wrote extensively about his travels. He interacted extensively with Tenberry, and his writing gives us context on Tenberry and his family.

Here is a snippet about the status of Ngaiwang – or Aiawong, as Eyre calls it – as a common language of communication between different groups (page 331 of Journals of Expeditions into Central Australia).

A Sample of Moorhouse's Vocabulary

1964 – Robert Moldarpi Mason is interviewed

A Sample of Moorhouse's Vocabulary

Robert Moldarpi Mason was a Nganguruku man who worked closely with Norman B. Tindale at different times over several years. His taped interviews with Tindale are a valuable source of cultural knowledge, and a guide to the pronunciations of the languages in the region.

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