The Northern Agricultural Region (NAR) has a diverse population, with a range of cultures such as Aboriginal, Italian, Vietnamese and Cocos Island Malay. Approximately 79% of residents were born in Australia and 19% born overseas. European settlement of the region began in the mid-1800’s, but has been more pronounced in the last 80 years with the continued opening up of agricultural land.
Place of birth for NAR residents
Hover over the different countries to see the number of people from each country now living in the Northern Agricultural Region. The map uses 2016 Australian census data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The Yamaji (also spelled Yamatji) and the Noongar people are the Traditional Owners of the NAR. These Aboriginal communities have a strong spiritual connection to the land and its natural resources.
Yamaji are the Traditional Owners of the land and coastal waters extending north from the coast at Greenhead, to Onslow and the Ashburton River. ‘Yamaji’ comes from the Wadjarri (or Wajarri) language and means ‘man’ or ‘human being’, so it is often used throughout this region to refer to ‘Aboriginal person’. For Yamaji people the NAR is a place of regular weather patterns and consistent availability of food. Today the Yamaji people have at least six distinct language groups within the NAR.
Within the NAR, the Noongar people are the Traditional Owners of land south of Coorow and Lake Moore. Noongar means ‘a person of the south-west of Western Australia,’ or the name for the ‘original inhabitants of the south-west of Western Australia’. The Traditional lands of the Yuet (or Yued) people cover most of the southern half of the NAR and is geographically one of the larger Noongar language group areas. Today within the NAR, the Noongar people have at least two language groups.
Bundiyarra-Irra Wangga Language Centre in Geraldton, is working with Yamatji elders to record their languages and language histories.
Aboriginal Australia Language Map
This map is just one representation of other map sources that are available for describing Aboriginal Australia. This map indicates only the general location of larger groupings of people which may include smaller groups such as clans, dialects or individual languages in a group. Boundaries are not intended to be exact. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author and not those of AIATSIS. For more information about the groups of people in a particular region contact the relevant Land Councils.
David R Horton, creator, © Aboriginal Studies Press, AIATSIS and Auslig/Sinclair, Knight, Merz, 1996