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The Romance of Australian PLACE NAMES
A six-page feature giving the origins of names in many parts
of Australia (some, especially aboriginal,
are the subject of con- tinuing local debate) and striking events associated with some of the localities. More of these place names will appear in later
A Scotsman's idea of preserving the bal-
ance between Aberdeen and Glasgow.
After a village in Kent which it re-
Appears on an early plan as Bika. Abo- riginal meaning: "Beautiful."
Governor Macquarie founded here an institution for aboriginal children. His wife personally taught them to sew and sing.
From native Boondi, describing noise of
water rolling in.
Named by the Government; originally
Said to be from native Nganbirra, ''a meeting place." First mention is in a letter from Joshua Morre, who fought at Water- loo, to the Colonial Secretary, December 16, 1826: "The land which I wish to purchase is situate at Canberry . . ." Subsequently a deed was issued to him for land at Cam-
From the name of Clarke Irving's station, taken from Cassino, 85 miles from Rome. Coalcliff
At this point in 1797 W. Clarke and two
others found coal and with it built fires to
warm themselves. The fires were seen and
they were rescued—the sole survivors of 17 men who, after a wreck, had attempted t0 walk 320 miles t0 Port Jackson.
Aboriginal: Koojah, "rotten seaweed."
Aboriginal: "Big water."
Dapto Aboriginal: "Lame native." Dubbo
From Tubbo, native word for "possum-
fur head-covering". At Marthaguy Creek, near here, John Dunn, bushranger, of Gar-
diner's gang, was wounded and captured.
He was hanged at Darlinghurst on a Christ-
CAPE BYRON, on the New South Wales north coast, is the most easterly point of Australia. Captain Cook named the adjacent Byron Bay as a compliment to Commander Byron, of H.M.S.
Dolphin, who also voyaged to the South Seas.
Picture by J. O. Colohan
After the first Chief Justice of N.S.W. Advertising the attractiveness of the town in the late '60s, a publication said: "A four- horse coach arrives daily from Sydney."
After Major Innes, whose son, as Attorney-General, went to Fiji on the occa- sion of the ceding of the island to Britain by King Thakombau. Thakombau's second son was educated at Newington College, Sydney. Like his father, King Thakombau had been a ruthless cannibal. On one occa- sion, when an English trader demanded money for goods supplied, Thakombau's father reminded him that the flesh of white men tasted like ripe bananas.
Aboriginal: "Many white stones." Guyra
Aboriginal: "Fish can be caught." Gwydir
Aboriginal: "River with red banks." Holbrook
Honors the memory of the commander of a submarine which in 1914 dived be- neath five rows of mines in the Dardan-
elles and torpedoed a battleship. He was given the Victoria Cross.
Known to natives as Binoomea. Their name for a prominent peak some miles from the Caves was Genowlan. Name be- stowed by C. Cooper, who marked the bridle track from Katoomba. Some main- tain the name is derived from J. Nolan, an early settler.
Aboriginal: "Frog." The aborigines pro-
nounced it "Choo-nee."
Aboriginal: "Katta-toon-bah," "waters
tumble over hill."
Aboriginal: "Plenty wild fowl about." Leeton and Leeville
After C. A. Lee, a Minister for Public
Works in N.S.W.
Aboriginal: "Lava." Lismore
Because it was thought to resemble scenery at Lismore, Ireland. St. Carthage wrote in 636: "Lismore is a famous and holy city of which nearly one-half is an asylum where no woman dare enter." Aborigines knew it as Tuckurimbah, "glutton."
After two pioneer Macs—MacKay and MacInally.
Aboriginal: "Little mountain." On a farm here worked Martin Cash, a bush- ranger who ravaged Tasmania. Sentenced to death, reprieved, a "lifer" at Norfolk Island, he eventually became respectable and was caretaker of Hobart Botanical
Gardens. The first attempt to manufacture pig-iron in N.S.W. was made near here.
Aboriginal: "Wild turkey." Mudgee
Aboriginal: "Contented." The natives pronounced it "Mou-gee."
From native name for Murwillumbah district: "Mullimbumbi."
A pastoral holding had this name origin- ally. Aboriginal: "Man carrying honey."
After the English Newcastle. The port was first entered by boat in 1797 in pur- suit of escaping convicts. Newcastle was first King's Town and the Hunter River was Coal River. The native name of the site was Malubimba.
Named by Thomas Mitchell after the Prince of Orange (later King of Holland), who was A.D.C. to Wellington. Mitchell, too, was an A.D.C. to the Iron Duke. The actual village reserve was known as Black- man's Swamp until 1846 (after John Black- man, chief constable at Bathurst), when it became the village of Orange.
In its earliest days it boasted the names of Mad Mick's Hollow and Cranky Alice's
After Sir Henry Parkes (1815-1896). It has been said of him that he was the first Australian statesman to meet British states- men as an equal.
Aboriginal: "Clear water." There was a station thereabouts called Quinbeam. In 1828 John Stephens wrote to the Surveyor- General, asking for a grant at Quinbean. The S.-G. endorsed the application: "Quin- bean is a hackneyed native name for part of country not yet surveyed."
Sydney Cove. Named by Governor Phillip after Lord Sydney, British Home Secretary. An ancestor introduced the Government sign of the broad arrow. The Governor's despatches were at first headed Sydney Cove, and there are records in- dicating that the new town might be called
Albion. The natives called it Warrane.
From aboriginal word for wild fig—
Aboriginal: "Resting place by river."
Aboriginal: "Safe harbor." Once popu- larly referred to as "Holey Dollar." At Kerminton, near here, Henry Kendall, the poet, was born.
An aboriginal word meaning "opening where floodwaters rush through."
According to different authorities, the word means "hard ground near water" and an expression of fear used by natives when they first saw a ship in full sail.
After Sir John Young, Governor of
CONTINUING: The Romance of Place Names
Ararat The nearby hill was named Mt. Ararat by an early squatter who rested there after
a weary journey, like Noah's Ark, which
came to rest on the mountain (now in Turkey). Aboriginal name for the hill: Gorambeepbarak, for the town site Butting-
From Armadale House, residence of the
Hon. J. Munro Cooper.
Explorer Major Mitchell named it after the Irish river identified with the "sweet vale" 0f the poet Moore. Bairnsdale
Natives called it Wy-yung. Bairnsdale
was the name of a homestead in the dis-
trict "so called because bairns arrived annually with unfailing regularity." It has suggested, however, that it is a corrup- tion of the name of a place on the Isle of
Said to have been derived from "balla"
(an Irish meaning of which is "main road") and hut—"hut on the main road." It has been argued, however, that it is from Balaarat, a native word suggesting "reclining on elbow." One of its earliest names was Yuille's Swamp.
Native name: Daarangurt. Balmoral, after the Royal residence in Scotland, which was purchased by the Prince Con- sort Albert and bequeathed to Queen Vic- toria. The Prince paid £32,000 for the original estate.
Once known as Mayday Hills. Mr. Cameron, a storekeeper and later a Mem-
ber of Parliament, rode into Beechworth in 1856 on a horse called Castor, shod with g golden shoes, each shoe weighing 7oz. 4dwt.
Ned Kelly, the bushranger, was sent here from Melbourne by special train, and pre- liminary proceedings in connection with his trial were heard in the local court.
Through an error by a clerk in the Lands Department it became Benalla, although the real name is Benalta, said to be an aboriginal name for musk duck.
A corruption of Abednego, the Christian name of William Thompson, the British champion pugilist, famous at the time the settlement was christened. His brothers, likewise were biblically named Shadrack
and Meshach. He retired from the ring and
became a nonconformist minister. The Gold Commissioner renamed the town
Sandhurst because his father had been Governor of Sandhurst Military College, England, but the diggers and settlers stuck
to Bendigo. Sandhurst means "sandy
Bonegilla. Aboriginal: "Deep waterhole." Once owned by Charles ("Robinson Crusoe")
Ebden. (See Ebden.)
From the fabulous amphibious being dreaded by the natives and said by them to rise at night from the depths of lagoons and waterholes and utter strange cries, identified by some white settlers as the boom of the bittern. The aborigines believed that the bunyip would engulf
solitary fishermen, canoe and all, in its vast jaws, and then sink like a stone to his undiscoverable den. An early Australian writer mentioned six aborigines who pre-
ferred death by bushfire to taking shelter in a waterhole.
After William Burnley, original land- owner. Birthplace of the great Australian singer Dame Nellie Melba, May 19, 1861. She was Helen Porter Mitchell, and her first music lessons were given by the mother of Annette Kellermann, famous swimmer.
Once simply Forest Creek. Named by Captain Wright after his uncle, Viscount
From John Caulfield, who was on the committee of the first Mechanics' Institute, 1839. The first racecourse was a failure. The site was about to be turned into a
cemetery when a sporting publican adver- tised a race meeting and by shrewd pub- licity saved the course.
TAGGERTY RIVER near Buxton. Taggerty was the natives' name for the clay used for ceremonial staining of their bodies. Buxton was named after the town in Derbyshire, England.
(Mineral springs there were famous in Roman times.)
Picture by J. O. Colohan
Letters written in 1837 refer to Dan-y- nong, and a Government surveyor recorded it as Tanjenong; it means "Lofty."
Charles Ebden, known in the early days of Sydney when he drove tandem through the ill-made streets, was a pioneer of the district and invariably wore a fur jacket and cap in imitation of Robinson Crusoe.
Aboriginal: "Meeting of waters." It was once Hopwood's Ferry.
Means "I have found it." Said to have
been the exclamation of Greek philosopher Archimedes when he found how to deter-
mine by specific gravity the proportion of base metal in gold. Became the name of a goldfield claim.
Miners, indignant at high licence fees, became restive, and, during an argument,
one of them was killed at the Eureka Hotel. The landlord, charged with murder, was discharged; later the hotel was wrecked and
burnt. Troops were sent from Melbourne
and the miners defied them in a stockade.
Aboriginal: Yera-o, "joyful." The Kelly gang robbed the bank here of £2200, December 11, 1878, after they had seized a hawker and put on the new clothes they
stole from him.
Named after Robert Fleming, who brought some cattle to Australia and was one of the earliest settlers. He provided the meat eaten at the earliest race meetings, and there is still in existence in the family the handsome bracelet the racing fraternity of the day gave to his wife. His son was John Wood Fleming, born on the site of present Flinders Street Railway Station,
After a village in Kent, Foots-Cray, which took its name from Goodwin Foot, the landowner in the days of Edward the
Jillong, native word said by various authorities to mean: "Place of the cliff," "white seabird," "curlew," "resort of the native companion," and "swampy plains." In 1840 they were calling it Coraiya.
Named by Latrobe after Henry Fysche Gisborne. Born in England of a very old family, he came to Sydney and was a magis-
trate at 21 and rode his own horses in rac-
ing events. He became Commissioner of Crown Lands at Port Phillip. One of his horses ran at the first meeting at Fleming- ton. A street in East Melbourne is named after him.
In the vicinity, Henry Power, bush- ranger, who had stuck up the mail coach within five miles of Beechworth, was cap- tured while sleeping. When sentenced to 15 years in Pentridge he asked the judge to "draw it mild." After serving the sen- tence, while taking a holiday on the Mur- ray, he was drowned.
Named by the brothers Rowan, who had a station there. Scene of the Kelly gang's
Darlot, pioneer, named it in 1848 after his native Horsham, Sussex, England. The aboriginal name was Wopet Bungundilbah, "house of feathers." The old English mean- ing of Horsham was "horse enclosure."
Once simply Simpson's. It got its present name through a surveyor whose birthplace was Maryborough, Ireland.
When Lonsdale, Melbourne's first police magistrate, arrived it was Bearbrass and had no lack of other names, including Bearport, Bareheap, Barebury, all varia- tions of the native Bararing, or Berrern.
It was known also as Batmania. Lonsdale called it Glenelg, but Governor Bourke re-christened it Melbourne, after William Lamb (Lord Melbourne), who guided the footsteps in royalty of the young Queen
When Lieutenant Grant, in the Lady Nelson, was at Cape Town he received instructions from the Duke of Portland to make for Sydney and pass through the Bass Straits, which had just been discovered. The natives called Portland, Laywhollet, "the place of long grass."
Named after the cutter Fairy (Wishart, master), which was driven in and sheltered there, 1827. Natives knew the locality as Py-ip-gil.
Named in honor of Sir James Service (1823-99). He came to Victoria in the gold-digging days and four years later was in Parliament, becoming, in succession, Lands Minister, Treasurer, and Premier.
Named by the explorer Major Mitchell after Lord Seymour, a British Minister.
Sherbourne Sheppard was the owner of Tallygaroopna Station in the 1840s.
William Foster Stawell was first Attor-
ney-General when the colony of Victoria
was formed. He drafted the Victorian Con- stitution Act and became first Chief Jus- tice. He died at Naples, Italy. Settlers first
knew Stawell as Pleasant Creek.
Major Mitchell called it so because the noise of swans spoiled the sleep of the explorers. The natives knew it as Martirag-
From native word meaning "many trees." Wangaratta
Is a corruption of native word Wanga- ralta, "home of cormorants." It was named Wangaratta, but a clerk in the Lands Office made the error, which has been perpetu-
Originally spelt Warnimble, from a native word meaning "plenty." It was also the name given by the aborigines to the "walking place of the blessed dead."
From a native word meaning "pull along."
Overleaf: W. Australia,
CONTINUING: The Romance
of Place Names
First called Frederick Town. A village was founded on the site of the present Albany in 1827 by Edmund Lockyer, who was sent by Governor Darling in Sydney to establish a settlement on King George Sound, because it was feared the French would forestall British occupation.
Dumont d'Urville saw it in 1826 and wrote that he found aborigines with red
There was quite a celebration in Albany in 1837 on the arrival of a cargo of red flannel, the gift of the Duchess of Kent to the aboriginal women.
From this town Edward John Eyre, the intrepid explorer, took the King George Sound native Wylie to South Australia. Wylie was subsequently his faithful com- panion on his historic journey from Fowlers Bay, when his only white mate, Baxter, was murdered by two aborigines.
After Sir Federick Napier Broome, Can- adian-born son of a missionary. He was a pastoralist in New Zealand, a leader writer on the London "Times," and Governor of Western Australia. Later he was Governor of Trinidad. He published two volumes of
Called after Lieut. William H. Bunbury,
of the 21st Fusiliers.
Takes its name from the Bussel family, which arrived in the colony in the Warrior,
Grace Bussel was the Australian heroine
of the wrecked Georgette in Geographe Bay, 1876. An aboriginal brought news that a vessel was breaking up off the shore. Eight people were drowned when the lifeboat was launched, and the rest were in grave danger. Indomitably, Grace Bussel swam her horse through the boiling surf and came to shore again carrying a child, with a woman riding
She repeated the perilous trip over and over for the next four hours, rescuing in this way no fewer than 48 people.
Named after Dr. Alexander Collie, sur- geon of the Sulphur, who explored the river. A street in Fremantle also bears his name.
First referred to as "the new find," or Bayley's. In the first rush, in 1893, food was so scarce that two men died of starvation. The water supply department had men on all waterholes, soaks, and tanks on the Cool- gardie road, charging men 6d. a gallon, horses 6d. a drink, camels 6/- a drink.
So called because a member of the Fre- mantle family became Lord Cottesloe.
So called because d'Entrecasteaux's vessel l'Esperance (hope) entered the bay in 1792.
From native Yirculyer, the name of a bluff near Eucla. The aboriginal name for the present site of the town was Chiniala.
After Captain Charles Fremantle, of the Challenger, a son of Admiral Fremantle, companion of Nelson. On May 2, 1829, Charles hoisted the British flag on the south head of the river, where Fremantle now
Corruption of the native name for the locality, variously suggested as Calgoola and Kalgurli.
Londonderry The find made by a party of six
tired and disheartened gold-diggers return-
ing from Lake Lefroy in 1894. The mines
which produced the "Big Ben" nugget valued at £3000, was sold by the prospector
to the Earl of Fingall for, it is said £180,000
and a sixth interest.
From Nursia, the Italian town, birth place
of St. Benedict.
The W.A. settlement was named by two Spanish priests, Dom Salvado and Dom Serra. First they established a mission for
the aborigines at Batgi Batgi, five miles from what became New Norcia. It did not
survive, and Dom Salvado, who was a fine
musician, walked to Perth and gave a con- cert to raise funds. He was the sole per- former and appeared in the concert in rags and tatters. It is said he invariably travelled more like a pedlar than a priest.
When lost in the bush he is reported to
have addressed his bullocks, when they re- fused to pull, in this way: "My friends, if
you don't know the way, I don't."
When the first settlement failed, the in- domitable priests tried the site now known as New Norcia. The valley was then called
Onslow Takes its name from Captain Arthur Onslow, who served on H.M.S. Howe (120 guns), which was commanded by Captain
James Stirling, the first Governor of West- ern Australia. After a distinguished career, Onslow settled in New South Wales and married into the well-known Macarthur family.
Founded by the simple ceremony of cut- ting down a tree, and named as a compli- ment to Sir George Murray, who was born
Here at Shark's Gully was found the "Bobby Dazzler" nugget, weighing 487oz. A lad named Withnell picked up a stone and found gold in it. He reported to the Govt.-
Resident, who was so excited he sent off a telegram to Premier John Forrest reading:
"Withnell looking for horses picked up a stone to throw at crow—(signed) Angelo." Forrest guessed what had happened, but couldn't resist wiring back: "What happened to crow?—(signed) Forrest."
Rottnest Island The Dutch navigator de Vlamingh an- chored here in 1696, saw "rats as big as cats," and called the island Rottnest (Rats'
Received its name because its discoverer
found his way there at night by the aid of stars. Here the notorious murderer Deeming
was arrested. Employed, under an alias, as
a mining engineer, he was so personally
popular that residents regarded the police
charges as preposterous and even attempted to prevent his arrest.
Aboriginal for "white quartz."
York. The York Road was originally King Dick's Road, after a native who acted as guide to
There was a stone near the present site
of York which the natives believe was in- habited by the spirits of children, and if
a woman went near it she would get one of the children.
Aboriginal: "Place for water."
CONTINUING: The Romance
of Place Names
Arthur: Port, River, Mt., Range
Aborigines' name for the river, Tungan-
rick. Called in honor of Governor Sir
George Arthur (1824-1836). Before coming to Van Diemen's Land he was given the Freedom of the City of London for his military services abroad. Although, in the popular mind, he is sometimes remembered as a tyrant (there were more than 100 executions in Hobart during the first 12 months of his regime), his administration was so able that trade in 12 years grew from
£75,000 a year to £900,000 and the popula- tion trebled. The aborigines' name for Port Arthur was Premaydena.
Near here the bushranger Dunn tied up
an old couple who kept an inn and then attempted to set fire to the premises. The victims were rescued by John Batman, born at Parramatta, N.S.W., in 1800, and prom- inent in the earlier history of Melbourne and also exploration.
This island was once virtually ruled by a
Mrs. Beedon, known as Queen of Bass Strait. She and her two daughters were each over 6ft. and weighed, between them,
Thus named by Governor Weld in 1879,
after Lord Beaconsfield (Benjamin Dis- raeli). It was first Cabbage Tree Hill, and on the discovery of gold by the Dalley brothers (1877) was known as Brandy
Creek. The mine yielded gold valued at
over £3 million.
William Burnie, a director of the Van Diemen's Land Co.
After Henriette Campbell (wife of Gov-
ernor Lachlan Macquarie).
After Governor Macquarie's second wife, Elizabeth.
After Glen Norah, the daughter of a
The Gaelic meaning is "tumbling waters." Martin Cash, the bushranger, died here.
Name associated with fabulous wealth, because in Golconda, Hyderabad, diamonds were brought, cut, and sold.
Viscount Gormanston was Governor of Tasmania, 1893-1900.
On the site this town the bushranger Dunn was captured while concealed in a
haystack. He once shot the husband of a
native woman and, when she refused to leave the body, cut the head off and,
making a hole through the nape of the neck, suspended it by a cord about the neck
of a woman, whom he drove before him at the point of a knife.
When she got free she aroused her tribe
and led them against the white settlers, judging all by the conduct of the bushranger.
Dunn appeared on the scaffold in a long white muslin robe with a huge black cross before and behind, a muslin cap, and a rosary in his hand. He continually struck his breast and exclaimed,"Lord, deliver us."
Heemskirk. Named by Flinders after one of the ves-
sels commanded by Abel Tasman (Heems-
kerck, 200 tons, carrying 60 men), 1642.
Native name: Romanraik.
The name given to the settlement at Risdon by Lieut. Bowen, 1803, in honor of Lord Hobart, head of the Colonial Office. When Collins removed the settlement he retained the name but made it Hobart Town. Officialdom called it Hobarton, but in 1881 the legislature definitely made it
Charles Joseph Latrobe. For a few months, 1846-7, he was Lieut.-Governor of
Governor King named it Patersonia after Colonel Paterson, but the name was changed to Launceston (the Cornish birth- place of the Governor). The Cornish pro-
nunciation is Lahnson.
This was the name of an aboriginal girl befriended by Governor Sir John Franklin and his wife. After their departure
she reverted to native habits.
Named after James Bischoff, chairman of the Van Diemen's Land Co., which, in 1825, got from Britain 250,000 acres of land in the north-west of the island for 2/6 an acre. It was in difficulties when the discovery of tin at Mt. Bischoff helped it considerably.
Opened as a goldmine in 1883 and 15 years later became one of the world's richest copper mines. Named after Sir Charles Lyell, the geologist.
Aboriginal: "Ice." Strahan
Major Sir George Cumine Strahan acted for Britain in the Ionian Islands, Malta, Bahamas. Lagos, Gold Coast, Windward Islands, and Cape Colony. He was Gov- ernor of Tasmania, 1881-86.
Named in honor of William Sorell, Lieutenant-Governor of Tasmania, 1817-24. He was the victim of organised wowserism and recalled, although he had done a great deal of valuable work. Earl Bathurst, a little ashamed, gave him a pension of £500
The town of Sorell was captured by the bushranging gang led by Matthew Brady, an educated man who had been transported for forgery. He disciplined the members of his gang who were brutal to women, would not countenance "unnecessary vio- lence," and claimed that he never killed a man intentionally. He was captured by John Batman.
The natives' name for Cape Sorell was
Named because the Tamar, in England, is navigable to Launceston, which was the birthplace of Governor King.
Aboriginal name: Penrabbel. Tiberias, Lake
A name left by a British regiment which
had seen service in Palestine.
From the flower. Its scientific name is Telopea, meaning "far seen." Wurrawana
Overleaf: S. Australia, Northern Territory
The Romance of Place Names
Adelaide. Native name was Tandarnya or Tan- darynga. Named at the request of William
IV after his wife, the pious Queen Adelaide,
who in her will, left, some of her library to
Perpetuates the name of the wife of
Governor Young. Aboriginal name was
Kurdnatta, "place of drifting sand."
Barossa Range. Was named after the Battle of Barossa,
From the Christian name of Blanche
Skurray (Lady MacDonnell, wife of Gov- MacDonnell). Blanchetown is in the Hundred of Skurray. Blanche Water, from same source, was named by Benjamin Babbage.
Named when the border line was in dispute. The town is some miles from the border. At one time gold escorts passed through the district and it was suggested that it be named Tolmer after the police
Named by John Denman, a mason, who
came from Cheltenham, England.
Aboriginal: "Barren woman."
After Governor Gawler, who fought at
Badajos and Waterloo. Aboriginal: Kaleeya.
After George Fisher, who owned Bun- daleer Station. The town was part of the Bundaleer estate. Fisher was drowned when the Admella was wrecked on a voyage from Adelaide to Melbourne in 1859. Fifty-nine
out of 83 were lost.
Aboriginal: "The elbow." Early maps show it as Port Pullen, after Captain Pullen, second in command to Adelaide founder
Colonel Light. The captain became an
Native: Bukartilla—"swimming place." Hahndorf was named after Captain Hahn, of the Zebra, which brought 199 German
immigrants to S.A. in 1838.
A workman building a hotel won a prize of five gallons of beer for suggesting the name.
On February 2, 1802, the great navigator Matthew Flinders went ashore. He wrote:
"It would be difficult to guess how many kangaroos were seen, but I killed ten, the rest the party making the number up to 31 . . . Half a hundredweight of heads, forequarters, and tails were stewed down into soup for dinner on this and succeeding days." (Flinder's men had had no fresh food for almost four months.) "In gratitude for so seasonable a supply I named the southern land Kangaroo Island." The name is Karta.
Largs Bay, Derived from the Gaelic "learg," meaning hillside. Named by the brother of Sir
The native name was Kangowirranilla, "place for kangaroos and water." Named by the original holders after the Earl of Macclesfield, for whom their father worked.
Named after Sir George Murray, presiding over the Colonial Office when explorer Sturt bestowed the name. Native names for various parts of the river: Tongwillum, Yoorlooarra, Goolwarra, Parriang Ka Perre. Moorundie, Ingalta.
The name was bestowed by surveyor- explorer Alfred Delisser, 1866, and recorded as Nullus Arbor (Latin, "no tree"). The
native name was Bunda Bunda.
Aboriginal: Utnadata—"the blossom of the mulga."
Formerly Petersburg. Named after Peter Doecke, then in Germany. Name changed
during 1914-18 war.
Pronounced Pirie as in "pit." Named after a Lord Mayor of London, one of original directors of the S.A. company. An early name was Germein's Roads. The natives called it Tarparrie, "muddy creek."
Abbreviation of Quorndon, Leicestershire. Named by Governor Jervois because his secretary succeeded to estates there.
From native name for "red mud." It was once part of Bookmark Station.
Named by early settler James Masters,
who owned the site of the town in 1854.
Named by Matthew Flinders in 1802 "in honor of the respectable nobleman who pre- sided at the Board of Admiralty when the voyage was planned" (Earl Spencer). The French navigator Baudin named it Golfe Bonaparte.
Aboriginal: "Abundance of wild-fowl." Tintinara
Corruption of aboriginal Tinyinlara, the native name for the stars in Orion's Belt, described in aboriginal mythology as a number of young men hunting emus and kangaroos in the sky.
GLENELG RIVER. After Lord Glenelg, who gazetted the colonisation commissioners for South Australia. Aboriginal
name: Patawilya, "cloggy, green place."
Named in 1836 by Colonel Light after the father of Torrens, author of the Torrens title, which, by the way, the legal profession at first opposed. Native names for various parts of the river were: Karra Wirra Parri (river of red-gum forest), Korra Weera, Witoing. When in flood, Yertala.
Wilpena is a native word signifying "place of bent fingers."
After Charles Campbell, who was so strong it is said he once ran a race with another man and won, although he carried a pony half the distance.
The aborigines' name for it, according to different authorities: Ponkepurringa ("shad- ows in water"), Unkaparinga, Ingangki parri, Ungkeperringa (mother river; plen- tiful). Once Field's River, but, through in- fluence of Governor Gawler, reverted to
Native meaning is "meeting place where
there is water."
Previously called Port Henry. Named after the Rover Wakefield, which was christened by its discoverer in honor of Edward Gibbon Wakefield, the great col- oniser. Wakefield, when a young man, was described as "a fashionable idler" and "of wild and almost insolent spirits, ready for any frolic, and not discriminating too nicely between frolic and mischief." He was tried in England for the abduction of a school- girl heiress and sentenced to three years in Newgate, where he devised his scheme for scientific colonisation. Wakefield St., Ade- laide, was named after a brother.
Matthew Flinders called it after the Rt.
Hon. Charles Philip Yorke, one of his pat- rons, who became the Earl of Hardwicke. The navigator Baudin called it the Peninsula Cambaceres, after the French statesman prominent in legislative work during the Reign of Terror, who received the title of
Duke of Rome.
Called after the wife of Sir Charles Todd, South Australia's Postmaster-General, who was primarily responsible for the building of the overland telegraph line to Darwin.
Aborigines' name: Tjauritji. Arnhem Land
After the ship of the Dutch navigator who discovered it. Arnhem is an ancient town in Holland.
Discovered by explorer Gosse, 1873; named after Sir Henry Ayers, who arrived in S.A. 1840, became secretary of a mining company and later had a long Ministerial career. His political rival, James Boucact, called him a "brooding genius of obstruc-
R. R. Knuckey, in charge of Section A of the Overland Telegraph Line construc- tion, wrote: "I jumped off my horse and tasted the water. You can imagine my delight when I found it fresh . . . We solemnly filled our pannikins and I named
the 'waters' Charlotte after Lady Charlotte Bacon, 6th daughter of the Earl of Ox-
After H.R.H. Prince Leopold of Saxe- Coburg (son-in-law of George IV), who became first King of the Belgians in 1831.
After Sir Dominick Daly, Governor, who
died in Adelaide in 1868.
After the author of "Origin of Species" and "Descent of Man," who visited Aus- tralia in the Beagle. Named by the Beagle's captain. The cruise has been termed the Columbus voyage of biology. When Darwin came home from his voyage his father exclaimed, "Why, the shape of his head is quite altered."
Named after Viscount Melville, First Lord of the Admiralty. Natives knew it as Yermalner. Thc settlement was founded by Captain Bremner, who began his sea training on a guardship at eight years of age.
Explorer John McD. Stuart wrote June 19, 1861: "Crossed a large gum creek where I watered my horses. This I have named Powell's Creek after J. W. Powell, Esq., of
After Sir Charles Todd, whose Overland Telegraph Line connecting Australia with the rest of the world was completed in August 22, 1872.
He said the proudest moment of his life was when Alice Bell (see Alice Springs), the girl to whom he was engaged, agreed to marry him and go with him to Australia, and the next proudest when he sat on the ground at Central Mt. Stuart on the very cold night of August 22, 1872, and with a pocket instrument spoke to both Darwin and
CONTINUING: The Romance of Place Names
Adavale This town takes its name from Mrs. E. J. Stevens, who, while travelling to Tintinchella with her husband in 1870, lost
her veil at the crossing of Blackwater
Creek "There goes Ada's veil," Mr. Ste- vens cried, and ever after referred to the spot as Ada's Veil Crossing.
Named after George Ferguson Bowen, first Governor of Queensland and a scholar of note. Bowen was settled in 1861 by 111 persons who arrived in the Santa Barbara and Jeannie Dove, and a few others who came overland under the protection of
Named after one of the early convicts. Bribie Island aborigines ( Jindobarres)
John Oxley named the River Brisbane after the Governor of New South Wales. The river had been found accidentally by four timber workers who, in an open boat, had been blown before the gale from a few miles south of Port Jackson. During the voyage one died of thirst. When their boat piled up on what was later called Stradbroke Island they thought they were south of Sydney.
Oxley later selected the site (now North Quay) for the new settlement, and Chief Justice Forbes approved but wanted the place called Edinglassie, a combination of Edinburgh and Glasgow. His choice was unpopular and the settlement took the name
of the river.
Aboriginal: "Honeysuckle." Bundaberg
The Bunda part of it is a name given to an early surveyor of the district by the Bunda tribe, who "adopted him," so that the place became known as Bundaberg or
Bert Hinkler, the aviator, first to fly solo from Great Britain to Australia, was born here; so was Vance Palmer, the author, and singer Gladys Moncrieff.
Its first name was Thornton, after a Queensland Collector of Customs. Later, on discovery of gold at the Hodgkinson, it became Dickson, after a Colonial Trea- surer. When eventually laid out in 1876 it settled down as Cairns, after the Gover- nor, William Wellington Cairns.
Named by Surveyor-General Tully after the small market town in County Cork,
Ireland, where he was born.
Charters Towers. The Charters is from the name of the gold warden who followed Hugh Mossman, Clarke, and Fraser, the discoverers of the site. Towers is a corruption of "tors," or Peaks.
Dalby. Its first name was Myall Creek. Dunk Island
Captain Cook christened it after the
Earl of Halifax, whose baptismal name was George Montagu Dunk. Edmund Banfield lived on this small island with his wife from 1897 till his death in 1923, studying
tropical nature and writing books.
First owned by Alexander and Gideon
Scott and called by them after one of the Esk rivers in Scotland.
Gatton. From Gatton, Surrey, England where the magnificent marbled Gatton House was
built by Lord Monson, whose ancestor had been falconer to James I.
From a native word, Gi-un-da, "thun- der." It was part of a station called Ider-
From the native '"goona" and "winnah," the droppings of ducks or shags. Many birds resting on a rock had made it white.
Built on old Hughenden Station, formed in 1863 by two pioneers who followed on the heels of explorer Landsborough.
After W. Bairstow Ingham, an engineer, who was an early sugar-grower in the dis- trict, owning Ing's Plantation. The settle- ment had been called Lower Herbert. Mr.
Ingham was murdered by natives in New
Guinea in 1879.
The town took its present name from a plantation owned by Mr. FitzGerald, estab- lished in 1880. Innisfail is the poetical name for Ireland, meaning the island of the fail or stone of destiny on which Jacob is supposed to have slept and which, it was believed, was brought to Ireland. The place was originally known as Nind's Camp after P. N. Nind, the first white settler, and then took the name of Gerald- ton from Thomas FitzGerald, of '"Innis- fail." Geraldton gave way to Innisfail in
1911 to avoid confusion accentuated when
an American vessel surprisingly appeared with a cargo for Geraldton, W.A.
At first known as Limestone Hill. A
post office, bearing the name Limestone,
was established there in 1846. Natives called the locality Tulmur.
After the biblical city, which in its hey- day was known as the City of Palms.
So named when surveyed because of a long, deep reach in the river.
John Mackay, a gold-digger at Armidale, N.S.W., led a party of six whites and one
GLASSHOUSE MOUNTAINS were named by Captain Cook, because of their appearance, as the Endeavour made its
voyage of discovery up the coast of Queensland.
Picture by J. O. Colohan
aboriginal ("Duke") with 28 horses and discovered what is now called the Pioneer River, but named Mackay by him on May 18, 1860. The party suffered great privations and Duke died on his horse's back. Mackay arrived at Rockhampton on July 10, tendered for the land he wanted, and returned to Sydney by boat for stock. He left Armidale again in July 26, 1861,
with 1200 head of cattle and arrived at
Rockhampton three months later. The land he took up he called Green Mount. Cap- tain Burnett had already named a stream near Rockhampton the Mackay, and the river discovered by John Mackay was re- christened the Pioneer after Burnett's vessel. As compensation the Government named the new settlement after Mackay.
Aboriginal: "Tea-tree bark."' Captain Cook in his "Voyage Towards the South Pole" refers to leaves of the "tea plant" making tea and improving beer.
HINCHINBROOK ISLAND, from Cardwell, North Queensland. The island was named by Lieutenant King in the Mermaid, after the second title of Lord Sandwich, whose first was given to the Sandwich Islands in the Pacific (now the Hawaiian Islands) and South Atlantic. Cardwell was named after a British Cabinet Minister.
Picture by Adelie Hurley
Aboriginal: "Green frog." Rockhampton
The name was suggested by W. H. Wiseman, Crown Lands Commissioner, because he came from Hampton, England. One of the surveyors of the town was A. F. Wood, who assisted in laying out
Named after Lady Diamantina Bowen, daughter of Count Roma, a noble of an ancient Venetian family. She was the wife
of Governor Bowen.
Sir Thomas Mitchell in 1846 built a bridge of rocks to cross the Balonne, and named the crossing on St. George's Day.
After the English Southport. The natives knew it as Goo-en, and it was once called Nerang Heads. The Scottish Prince went ashore here in 1887 and gradually broke up; quantities of whisky were pilfered and
hidden on Stradbroke Island and there-
abouts, and were still being recovered
For some years the settlement was known as The Swamp. Archdeacon Ben- jamin Glennie preached at The Swamp in 1848, using the largest room in a local inn for his sparsely attended services. He apparently disliked the name of the settle- ment, and at Drayton in 1852 baptised children whose parents were entered in the register as residing at Toowoomba. The name got the endorsement of settlers at a sports gathering on New Year's Day, 1858, when the word was displayed in white let-
ters on a sheet of red calico and erected at the winning post.
Called after Robert Towns, who, as a boy, showed remarkable aptitude for a sea- faring life and at 17 was a skipper. He saved his money and built a vessel, The Brothers, which in 1827 was the crack ship visiting this country. He married a sister of W. C. Wentworth, the Australian patriot, poet, and statesman. His vessels visited not only Townsville but also Burketown and other settlements before they had their
Was previously known as Pelican Water- holes. The Winton is from a place near
After the Rev. Zillmere, who started a
German mission station.