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Indigenous Studies Guide: Maps of Language and Traditional Custodian Boundaries

Find information for your assignments and research related to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander topics

Guide to map use

The maps sited on this page are at present the most well known. Further searching may reveal others. Use One Search. Maps are also often within books or articles that cover broader topics. Detailed maps for the Torres Strait Islands and specific regions in Australia may be easier to find in this manner.

Maps are sometimes disputed by Traditional Owner Groups and also by academic sources. We advise people to use them as only a guide for what language and Traditional Owner Groups may be in an area.


Great Barrier Marine Park Authority

Traditional Owners of the Great Barrier Reef

The following list identifies some of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owner groups and nations of the Great Barrier Reef. 

National Native Title Tribunal

Interactive map 1

AIATSIS map Indigenous Australia

This map is an attempt to represent all the language, tribal or nation groups of Indigenous peoples of Australia.

Be aware spelling for names of groups may differ due to: different spelling conventions used by each author; the academic linguistic name may be different from the Traditional Owner Group names. 

Interactive map 2

Map showing the distribution of the Aboriginal tribes of Australia [cartographic material] / By Norman B. Tindale.

Source: National Library of Australia. MAP G8961.E1. 1940 (Copy 1). 

eResources available @JCU library

These resources are only accessible to JCU students and staff. 

We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.Acknowledgement of Country