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\ The Origin of Toodyay
I A Good Looking Woman - As
By VICTOR C C RISELEY.
As one who "was privileged to spend, most of his boyhood days in Tood- yay, and who has never since failed to regard that rich Avon Valley spot with pride, I have often wondered from what circumstances It derived
Its name. No published1 volume that I have come across has given the mat-
ter .any. regard, and although many
attempts have been made throuch the Press to satisfy curiosity on toe point none of these ever seemed to me to be adequate.
The most recent reference to toe matter of Toodyay"s nomenclature ap- peared in the dally Press a few Weeks ago, conveying the idea that Toodyay" which is, of course, an aboriginal word, meant "beauty." Well, that sounded pretty near toe mark, because if the aboriginal had any sense of toe "beau- tiful he could not have used a better
word to describe Toodyay.' But the al original of Australia had little use for these aspects and was not given to linguistic rhapsodies. His language was a utilitarian language and his
place names were almost always as- sociated with his "¿ally bread" and his water. Wherever there was a river or a creek he called It "Gabby" or "Beela," and so throughout toe State we find "Gabbydines," "Oolan gabbas," and so on. Tha spots where game was plentiful were kr-iwn in the equivalent of the aboriginal words for "possum, kangaroo and emu. Beauty -as a secondary consideration to these huntsmen of toe plains and hills jf Western Australia. If there was any- thing beautiful, it was a Beautiful emu or a beautiful snake or a mag- nificent turtle, and so the adjective was 'ost in the enjo;anent of the tea.t .
There were some exceptional- lin- guists among toe white men whose /lives were lived In close association with the niggers of this country in the ¿early day& and although I have met some of these I do not remember that I ever questioned them as a boy about "Toodyay." One of the best 01 these speakers of the native language was Tommy McKnoe, for whom' I worked as a boy at Toodyay. I had many interesting talks with Tommy about toe natives, and although 1 learnt much of their history and hab- its, this one subject was never men- tioned. Then there was Denis Griffin, a man who lived away out back shepherding for toe sheepmen of Tood- yay. He lived a life of almost com p te isolation, his - only companions, for very long stretches, right -from boyhood being natives. He spoke sev- eral of toe dialects perfectly. For
months on end during any of the years of his lifetime he spoke nothing but the aboriginal language and his onlv hobby to whittle cleverly out of jam wood and sandalw <* the bell-yokes for the bell-wethers of the flocks he shepherded One would think that such men must have known, still I never beard them mention It. As a boy a man like Den. Griffin who could sit for hours telling the open-mouthed kids like myself around him the most Interest-holding stor'es of the natives was to me a marvel. I would leave "Frank Read's Steam Hoçse" and "Buf- falo Bill's Wild Ride" any tone to hear Denis Griffin.
There ,were -some very Intelligent natives round Toodyay when 1 was a boy, and one of these was toe King of toe Avon Valley tribes, Jack Wam man, or Wannan. Jack's fourth wlf» was a picturesque old wizen, tor she used to limp round on one good foot and a hideous looking ankle-stump Her foot had been burned off one Toodyay «how night when the lady had Inad- vertently left it* In the fire. Toodyay
wine used to be wonderful stuf" In
those days. Then there was Tommy Bimbah, whose glorious teeth, engag-. gaging smile and rotundity of form were toe chief noticeable elements of one of the most channing old cad- gers I have ever met. I think Tommy Is still alive, and could probably be found somewhere alona the Avon to- day in the old naunts he knew, some- where between Vtveasb's. at Katrine. or The Range (Mr Clarkson*«) at Toodyay and If we did find htm he'd be sitting down in the shade. In toe attitude of Buddha, with just as much stomach, but a far cheerier mien. The last time I met Tommy Bimbah was in Perth He had Just paid one of his regular visits to the "Bungalow," to' "see John Forres*." But Tommy In- stead of getting his customary "tchll lin'" had found gloom and sadness.
for Lord Forrest had died, away from his well-loved native Jand, and amongst his mourners was Tommy Bimbah. When Tommy told me of this sad in- telligence the tears ran down his fat old cheeks, and that he was utterly heartbroken I could see. I »as able to assuag« -his grief to some extent by
momentarily'performing toe act which had been toe lifelong pleasure of Joan Forrest. Such old natives ?were very fine types, and must have known how 'Toodyay" came about, but it never occured to them or ray of us to dis- cuss the matter.
So, the other day I met Mr. E. C. D. Keyser, who has a "flair" for early Western Australian history, and hav- ing heard me boast that I came from Toodyay, just as the Wild Colonial Boy came from Castlemaine, he gave m. what I believe will be accepted as. the most convincing solution of this little problem. It Is this: Toodyay (rronounced "Toojee") or. Duidg -. was named after "Toodyeep, the pretty aboriginal wife of Coonebung who, with Waytung, accompanied Advocate General G. F. Moore, Weenat, and a mounted policeman to the Valley of Gabbla-Tandirt, Moore River, in 1836. G. F. Moore described Tooyeep r ihn most beautiful aboriginal woman he had ever seen, "toe fairest of the
[fair." This appears hi the diary of IG. F. Moore, which was in the posses
i sion of toe late Mr. A. C. Fraser.
So that's that-or it looks like it.