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The Tirari were an indigenous Australian people of the state of South Australia. They are not to be confused with the Diyari, though the Dirari language is a dialect of Diyari.

South Australia State of Australia

South Australia is a state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of 983,482 square kilometres (379,725 sq mi), it is the fourth-largest of Australia's states and territories by area, and fifth largest by population. It has a total of 1.7 million people, and its population is the second most highly centralised in Australia, after Western Australia, with more than 77 percent of South Australians living in the capital, Adelaide, or its environs. Other population centres in the state are relatively small; Mount Gambier, the second largest centre, has a population of 28,684.

The Diyari, alternatively transcribed as Dieri, is an Indigenous Australian group and language of the South Australian desert originating in and around the delta of Cooper Creek to the east of Lake Eyre.



Some confusion arose when, in 1904, the ethnographer A. W. Howitt confused this distinct, if small, tribe with their neighbours, the Diyari, suggesting it was a name for a horde of the latter. [1] The German missionary Otto Siebert testified in 1936 that the Tirari's speech differed from Diyari. [2]

Alfred William Howitt Australian scientist

Alfred William Howitt CMG was an Australian anthropologist, explorer and naturalist.

A band society, sometimes called a camp or, in older usage, a horde, is the simplest form of human society. A band generally consists of a small kin group, no larger than an extended family or clan. The general consensus of modern anthropology sees the average number of members of a social band at the simplest level of foraging societies with generally a maximum size of 30 to 50 people.

Diyari or Dieri is an Australian Aboriginal language of South Australia.


Norman Tindale estimated their tribal lands as covering roughly 4,500 square miles (12,000 km2). They dwelt around the eastern shore of Lake Eyre, running northwards from Muloorina to the Warburton River. Their eastern frontiers were at Killalapaninna. [2]

Norman Tindale Australian biologist

Norman Barnett Tindale AO was an Australian anthropologist, archaeologist, entomologist and ethnologist.

Lake Eyre endorheic lake in South Australia

Lake Eyre, officially known as Kati Thanda–Lake Eyre, contains the lowest natural point in Australia, at approximately 15 m (49 ft) below sea level (AHD), and, on the rare occasions that it fills, is the largest lake in Australia covering 9,500 km2 (3,668 sq mi). The shallow endorheic lake is the depocentre of the vast Lake Eyre basin and is found in Northern South Australia, some 700 km (435 mi) north of Adelaide.


Muloorina is both a pastoral lease that operates as a cattle station and a formal bounded locality in South Australia. The name and boundaries of the locality were created on 26 April 2013 after the long-established local name.

History of contact

The Tirari were extinct by the time of Tindale's writing (1974). Their name is memorialized in the toponym denoting part of the land they occupied, Tirari Desert.

Tirari Desert desert in central Australia

The Tirari Desert is a 15,250 square kilometres (5,888 sq mi) desert in the eastern part of the Far North region of South Australia. It stretches 212 km from north to south and 153 km from east to west.




    Macmillan Publishers British publishing company

    Macmillan Publishers Ltd is an international publishing company owned by Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others.

    Carl Friedrich Theodor Strehlow was an anthropologist, and genealogist that served on two Lutheran missions in inland Australia from May 1892 to October 1922, a total of thirty years. He was at the first mission station, Killalpaninna, from 1892 to 1894, and the second, Hermannsburg, eighty miles west of Alice Springs, from 1894 to 1922, first as teacher and, from 1901 onwards, manager, and it is for his work here that he is mostly known today. Strehlow was ably assisted and supported by his wife Friederike Johanna Henriette Keysser, who played the central role in reducing the high infant mortality which threatened Aboriginal communities all over Australia after the onset of white settlement. It is probable that Hermannsburg was the only Mission in Australia at the start of the twentieth century where the population was growing through natural increase. As a polymath with an interest in natural history, through his Aranda informants Strehlow provided plant and animal specimens to museums in Germany and Australia, a number of which first came to scientific notice through his collecting. This was the outcome of his collaboration with Moritz, Baron von Leonhardi of Gross Karben in Hessen, Germany, who also suggested he write his monumental anthropological work Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme in Zentral-Australien. With Leonhardi as editor this work became the first publication of the newly founded Städtisches Völkermuseum of Frankfurt am Main, appearing in eight parts between 1907 and 1920. Strehlow sent what was said to be the best collection in the world of Aboriginal artefacts – both sacred and secular – to Frankfurt, unfortunately largely destroyed in the bombing of the city in World War Two, though some fine pieces remain. Due to Leonhardi's sudden death in 1910, Strehlow's linguistic researches intended as part of Die Aranda- und Loritja-Stämme were never published, though used in manuscript form by his son Theodor George Henry Strehlow and later Hermannsburg missionaries. Strehlow also collaborated on the pioneering first complete translation of the New Testament into an Aboriginal language (Dieri), published by the British and Foreign Bible Society in 1897, and he later translated the New Testament into Aranda, parts of which were published after his death. He also produced a reader and service book in the latter language. Falling ill with dropsy in September 1922, he tried to reach a doctor but died at Horseshoe Bend halfway between Alice Springs and Oodnadatta, leaving Frieda and fourteen-year-old son Theodor to continue south to Adelaide without him. Professor TGH Strehlow, who is better known than Carl, built his scholarly career in part on the researches carried out by his father.

    Moritz Freiherr von Leonhardi was a German anthropologist.

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