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Australian Aboriginal and Islander Perspectives

aboriginal australia

Australia’s attitude to its indigenous people has changed dramatically over the centuries and still has a long way to travel. Recording early indigenous material presents major dilemmas for any folklorist as the material is often racist and sexist. My job is to record such material and I would caution anyone wishing to use this material in a detrimental way.




North Head (Sydney)—“Boree”
South Head (Sydney)—“Cuttai”
Middle Head (Sydney)—“Cubba Cubba”
“Timbrebungie“ means Big Bend. In particular a large bend in the Macquarie River, twenty miles below Dubbo.
Dubbo—“ White clay or sand.”
Minore—“ All about.”
Wollombi—“ Meeting of the Waters.” A village situated sixteen miles south-west from Maitland, where two streams meet.
Potts’ Point (Sydney)—“ Carrajeen.”
Lady Macquarie’s Chair (Sydney)—“ Yurong.”
Darling Point (Sydney)—“ Yaranabe.”
Manly Beach (Sydney)—“ Cannae.”
Cockatoo Island (Sydney)—“ Warrieubah.”
Goat Island (Sydney)—“ Memel.”
Hawkesbury River—“ Deerabubbin.” The aboriginals suffered at times from a disease very like small-pox, called by them “ Galgala.”
Botanic Gardens, Farm Cove (Sydney)—“ Yoolaugh.”
Milson’s Point—“ Kirribilli.”
Blue’s Point—“Waning.”
Sydney          Warrane
Parramatta      Parramatta    eels sit down.
Manaro          Manaro        the navel.
Minyago yugilla—Why weepest thou ?—is the name of a fountain springing out of the side of a mountain near the Namoi.
Manilla (River)   Muneela       round about
Culgoa (River)    Culgoa        running through
Boggabri        Bukkiber-i     place of creeks
Drill dool        Tareel dool     place of reeds
Piliga           Bilagha        head of scrub oak
Breewarina      Bureewarrina  trees (acacia pendula)
Yarra Yarra                    flowing, flowing
Mooki (River)    Mook-i        flinty
Guligal          Guligal        long grass seed
Molroy or Miiroy Murrowolaroi  having hedgehogs
Narrabri         Nurra-bur-i    forks
Botany          Zwiagal
Bundarra        Bundarra      place of kangaroos
Balal            Balal          bare, barren
Pokataroo       Bukkitaro     river going, wide
Barwon          Ba-wun        great (river)
Gundamaine     Gundi-my-an   house on the stream
Gwydir (River)   Gu-i-da        place of red (banks)
Gunedah        Gunneda      place of white stone

North Shore
(Sydney)      Walumetta
Dromedary Mountain      Culag-o
Fort Bourke     Wurtamurtah
Lachlan (River)  Colai
Newcastle, Mulubimba

Names of some of the aboriginals of Sydney in the first days of the colony :—
Barangaroo”—Wife of Benelong.
Daringha “—Ditto.
Dilboong”—Name of native girl living in Sydney.
Mangoran “—A chief of Sydney.
Ballooderry “—Son of Mangoran.
Bedia Bedia “—Chief of Parramatta.

Source: In 1879 J. A. Heaton published a ‘Book of Dates’ relating to the early years of the Colony of New South Wales.
It is an extraordinary work and provides facts, figures and observations on a wide range of ‘colonial doings’. All spelling, including place names, has been left as per the original documents.