27 September 2012


For a number of years the University of Sydney has been acknowledging that it is situated ‘on Cadigal land’. But is it?  There are few historical records giving an indication of the territory of the Cadigal clan. Some are presented here:

John Hunter
“The tribe of Camerra inhabit the north side of Port Jackson. The tribe of Cadi inhabit the south side, extending from the south head to Long-Cove; at which place the district of Wanne, and the tribe of Wangal, commences, extending as far as Par-ra-mata, or Rose-Hill. The tribe of Wallumede inhabit the north shore opposite Warrane, or Sydney-Cove, and are called Walumetta. I have already observed that the space between Rose- Hill and Prospect-Hill is distinguished by eight different names, although the distance is only four miles.”

Hunter, John. 1968 [1793]. An Historical Journal of Events at Sydney and at Sea, 1787-1792 / by Captain John Hunter, Commander H.M.S. Sirius; with further accounts by Governor Arthur Phillip, Lieutenant P. G. King, and Lieutenant H. L. Ball. Edited by J. Bach. Sydney: Angus and Robertson in association with the Royal Australian Historical Society. —p. 275

Watkin Tench
“The tribes derive their appellations from the places they inhabit: thus Càmeeragal, means the men who reside in the bay of Cameera; Càdigal, those who reside in the bay of Cadi; and so of the others.”

Tench, Watkin. 1979 [1789, 1793]. Sydney’s First Four Years, being a reprint of ‘A narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay; with an account of New South Wales, its Productions, Inhabitants, &c., to which is subjoined, A List of the Civil and Military Establishments at Port Jackson’ and ‘A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson in New South Wales, including an accurate description of the Situation of the Colony; of the Natives; and of its Natural Productions’. Sydney: Library of Australian History in association with the Royal Australian Historical Society. —p. 292

Philip Gidley King

Gadi =
"The tribe of Cadi are on the South side, extending from the South head to Long-Cove; at which place the district of Wanne, & the tribe of Wangal commences, extending as far as Par-ra-mata, or Rose-Hill."
Cadi  :
King MS [:405:17] [BB]

Anon Notebook

gadigal =
"tribe at, near, Sydney; by bay of Cadi"
underneath-men  :
Anon (c) [:43:3] [Syd]

Science of Man: Dept of Mines 1901

gadi =
"South side of Sydney Harbour, from South Reef to Long Nose Point, Balmain."
SofM 19011022 [148 MINES–NSW] [:148.2:3] [Syd]

George Thornton
"Caddie" Gadi = "The native name of the country lying between Longnose Point, Balmain, and South Head, was “Caddie,” and the aboriginal term for a tribe or clan being at that time “Gal,” the tribe inhabiting that stretch of country between the points named were called “Caddie Gal.”" Cadi  : Thornton, Notes [:7:2] [Syd]

Two of the above refer to Long Nose Point—seen at the centre top of the following map:

From selectively drawing on the above information, modern websites confidently affirm precise clan boundaries — as in the following instance:

The Cadigal and Wangal people
The Inner West Environment Group acknowledges that the corridor we are establishing runs through the lands of the Cadigal and Wangal clans of the Eora nation. Hawthorne Canal, formerly called Long Cove Creek, was the boundary between the Cadigal and the Wangal peoples’ lands.” 

Hawthorne Canal is the blue streak descending from the bottom of Iron Cove

This website has deduced that Long Cove was Iron Cove, and accordingly that Cadigal territory extended to the Hawthorne Canal, at the head of Iron Cove, the location of which appears in the accompanying Google map.

The following historical photo also identifies Iron Cove with Long Cove:

The description reads: Long (Iron) Cove Bridge, Sydney

However, is this right? Where in reality is or was ‘Long Cove’? It is either Darling Harbour or Iron Cove. 

Modern websites
A Wikipedia entry states:

“When the First Fleet reached Sydney Cove in January 1788, a consignment of 5,000 bricks and 12 wooden moulds for making bricks was included in the cargo carried by the transport Scarborough. This token consignment was adequate enough to enable the first settlers to make a start on the colony’s first buildings, until the location of a suitable site for brick-making could be found. A site deemed suitable for this endeavour would need to have a plentiful supply of clay and a ready source of fresh water. Approximately a mile from the settlement, at the head of a long cove (and consequently so named), a suitable site for brick-making was located. This site was later named Cockle Bay, and still later, Darling Harbour.[1]”

The Darling Harbour case is supported by another website:
“Until the arrival of Europeans, the Cadigal people, the original inhabitants of the area around Sydney Cove, called Darling Harbour Tumbalong (place where seafood is found).

When Sydney was founded in 1788, the bay was called Long Cove because of its unusual length. The large shell middens left by generations of Cadigal people in the area soon saw the name Cockle Bay come into everyday use.”

David Collins: First Fleet Historian
Collins, in hsid Volume I, provided indicators of what was intended by ‘Long Cove’ in the following excerpts:

Page 17: bricks
A gang of convicts was employed, under the direction of a person who understood the business, in making bricks at a spot about a mile from the settlement, at the head of Long Cove; at which place also two acres of ground were marked out for such officers as were willing to cultivate them and raise a little grain for their stock; 

Bricks were made at the head of Cockle Bay/Darling Harbour, as the following extract attests:


Two more Collins extracts
Page 101: at the back of the settlement
“At a muster of the convicts which was directed during this month, one man only was unaccounted for, James Haydon. Soon after the muster was over, word was brought to the commissary, that his body had been found drowned in Long Cove, at the back of the settlement.

Page 17: ‘a capital view’ of Long Cove from Government House
“The government-house was to be constructed on the summit of a hill commanding a capital view of Long Cove, and other parts of the harbour; but this was to be a work of after-consideration; for the present, as the ground was not cleared, it was sufficient to point out the situation and define the limits of the future buildings.”

Distances: ‘A mile from the settlement’

From the map above, the head of Darling Harbour (Cockle Bay) is under 2 km or about one mile from ‘the settlement’. This matches Collins’s description. By contrast, the head of Iron Cove is about 6-7 km at least from ‘the settlement’ or about four miles.

Further, Government House is unlikely to have had a ‘capital view’ of the head of Iron Cove, but might have had such a view of the head of Cockle Bay.

The evidence extracted from the writers of the First Fleet period indicates that Cadigal territory extended to the head of Darling Harbour (Long Cove), at which point Wangal territory commenced, and extended to Parramatta.

The University of Sydney would consequently be placed in in the District of Wanne, and not in the Cadi district.

Watkin Tench (cited above) stated:
“The tribes derive their appellations from the places they inhabit: thus Càmeeragal, means the men who reside in the bay of Cameera; Càdigal, those who reside in the bay of Cadi; and so of the others.”

On the modern UBD street directory map above, ‘the bay of Cadi’ may be identified as Watsons Bay from the beach at its southern extremity transcribed on the map as ‘Kutti’, but indubitably pronounced the same. (It can be seen at the bottom of the map, to the right of the inscription ‘Village Point’.)

Finally, the following is a map of clans and indigenous place names of the eastern Sydney Harbour region:

Thursday 27 September 2012

31 August 2012

Mooney Mooney

Mooney Mooney is on the Hawkesbury River. There is a club there where lunch may be had, with a balcony offering a view over the water; noisy mynas tormented a kookaburra sitting on telegraph wires. The question presented itself as to what this placename might mean. The receptionist at the club visited for the lunch, a resident for the past forty years, asserted it meant ‘many rivers‘ — something he had learnt from other locals. This explanation did not sound likely.

The internet was consulted:
http://www.gosford.nsw.gov.au/ Mooney Mooney: aboriginal origin, meaning unknown.

So the Bayala Databases were later referred to, with the following principal possibilities emerging as to meaning: ‘kangaroo’ and ‘ill’.


muni =
kangaroo  :
KAOL Ridley [Lr HUNT] [:124:15.4] [NrN]
muni =
kangaroo  :
Schmidt, P.W.: NORTH [:117.21:19] [Awa/Kgai?]
muni =
"the kangaroo."
kangaroo  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:54:54] [Awa]
mani =
pademelon  :
SofM 19000922 [132.1 Rankin–Richmond Tweed R] [:133.1:51] [Bjlg]
mani =
pademelon  :
SofM 19000922 [132.1 Rankin–Richmond Tweed R] [:133.1:51] [Bjlg]
mani =
pademelon  :
SofM 19000922 [132.1 Rankin–Richmond Tweed R] [:133.1:51] [Bjlg]
"Ulan mulla boora money"
yulan mala bura mani =
"Skin that kangaroo"
skin that extract kangaroo  :
SofM 19000322 [28: Thomas–Clarence R] [:29.4:31] [Bjlg]
mani =
"Paddymelon (Nambucca district)"
pademelon  :
AntSoc 456 [42 Critchett Walker–NSW] [:63:63] [Gmbgr]
muni =
kangaroo  :
SofM 18991221 [209.1 Gostelow-Bathurst] [:209.2:23] []


mani =
ill  :
Tkld AWA Key 1850 [K:23:14.1] [Awa]
"munni kolāng"
mani-gulang =
"about to sicken"
ill about to :
Tkld AWA Key 1850 [K:23:14.2] [Awa]
mani =
ill  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:54:62] [Awa]
mani =
"to be sick, ill, or to be diseased."
ill  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:60:29] [Awa]
mani =
ill  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA 1892 [:ix:43] [Awa]

On the assumption that reduplication in the case of ‘Mooney Mooney’ is an intensifier, a plural or a ‘very’ may be assumed. Thus one might suppose Mooney Mooney to mean either ‘many kangaroos’ or ‘very ill’.

Other possible meanings are ‘take’ (in the sense of ‘catch’, but in the past tense; and also  ‘run‘ — in examples from south of Botany Bay. However, Mooney Mooney is northward of Sydney; and a verb in the past tense would seem an unlikely in a place name. Consequently either ‘kangaroo’ or ‘ill’ would seem the more probable meanings; and of these two choices, ‘kangaroo’ would again seem the more probable.

It can be noted that the word ‘muni’ for ‘kangaroo’ (or similar — e.g. pademelon, wallaby) appears to have had currency from the Hunter River area up to Queensland (Lismore, Gold Coast: Bandjalang), including Nambucca Heads and Coffs Harbour (Gumbaynggir), with even a further example in an 1899 list from E. Gostelow of Bathurst, but the locality of the word was not recorded so may not have been from the Bathurst district.

Friday 31 August 2012

01 July 2012


When reviewing Wiradhuri records made by Archdeacon James Gunther around 1837, your database compiler chanced upon:

yarba-ra =
"to dig, scrape with the spade."
dig  :
Günther (Fraser) [:108:31] [Wira]
This called to mind a Threlkeld entry from Awabakal (or the Hunter River language), which was then found:

yarba-li-gu =
"to saw ..."
saw  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA 1892 [:101:27] [Awa]
yarba-la =
"saw (mandatory): do saw"
saw IMP! :
Tkld/Frsr AWA 1892 [:101:34] [Awa]
"yarr-bulli kolaġ"
yarba-li-gulang =
"to be about to saw  [about to be sawing]"
saw ing about to :
Tkld/Frsr AWA 1892 [:101:28] [Awa]
yarba-li-ngil =
"the sawing-place; a saw-pit"
saw ing place :
Tkld/Frsr AWA 1892 [:101:32] [Awa]
In fact there were several more , with variations of yar... meaning ‘to saw’.
The full entry for the first item in the above group is:

yarba-li-gu =
"to saw [‘to be in the act of causing by its own act the sound of yarr’; or, in English, ‘to saw’]"
saw  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA 1892 [:101:27] [Awa]
The Rev. Lancelot Threkeld has taken ‘yar’ to be the indigenous best effort of capturing the English word ‘saw’, a logical-enough conclusion given that there is no /s/ in indigenous languages of the region.
However, the slight similarity between the actions of ‘digging' in the initial example to ‘sawing’ noticed by Threlkeld led to further enquiries concerning ‘yar’ words. There are a great number of these across the languages of south-eastern NSW, but when ‘repetitive action’ was looked for, the following were uncovered.


yara =
"to swim"
swim  :
Enright GDG 1900 [:114:83] [Gdg]
yaru-ma-ri =
swim  :
SofM 19000322 [28: Thomas–Clarence R] [:28.4:43] [Bjlg]
yaru-mi-la =
"To swim"
swim  :
SofM 19000922 [132.1 Rankin–Richmond Tweed R] [:134.1:65] [Bjlg]
yira =
swim  :
Mathews NGWL [:305:41] [Gga/Ngwl]
"[Boó-roo yar´-râ-min, gool-ân´-doo yar´-râ-moó-goo-moon]"
yara-mi-n =
"[kangaroo swims, at sometime swims not]"
swim   he:
M&E: GGA 1900 [:273:27.2] [Gga]
"[Boó-roo yar´-râ-min, gool-ân´-doo yar´-râ-moó-goo-moon]"
yara-mugu-mu-n =
"[kangaroo swims, at sometime swims not]"
swim  not he:
M&E: GGA 1900 [:273:27.4] [Gga]

yurba-ra =
"to nod in sleep, to be sleepy."
nod  [sleepy]:
Günther (Fraser) [:109:58] [Wira]
yurba yurba =
nod  nod [sleepy]:
Günther (Fraser) [:109:59] [Wira]

yara =
"To sharpen the points of a muting or fish gig"
sharpen  :
Dawes (b) [b:23:22.1] [BB]
yuru-l-ba-ra-dyu =
"I am sharpening the tyi bong (by rubbing it on a stone)"
sharp do I:
Dawes (b) [b:23:20.1] [BB]

yara-d-ba-ga =
flutter  fly I:
Mathews DGA 1901 [:72:54] [DGA]
yari-mi-li-ma-ny =
"to fly"
flutter  he:
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [:22:23] [Gga]

yara-ra-ndya =
spread  :
Mathews DGA 1901 [:73.1:1] [DGA]
yaragal =
clean  :
Dawes (b) [b:23:21] [BB]
yara yara =
"ever flowing"
flow ing :
SofM 18960912 [12.2 JJB-Narrandera] [:12.3:64] [Wira]
yara-ba-yi =
"creaking, as shoes"
creak  as shoes:
Günther (Fraser) [:108:51] [Wira]
yara-da-na =
"to beat on the bargan, q.v."
clack  :
Günther (Fraser) [:108:39] [Wira]
yara =
"Birds singing"
chirp  :
SofM 19010321 [26 Thomas–Wiraiari] [:26.3:2] [Wira]
The second (respelt) column gives words spelt yar-, yur- and yir-. The variations can be ascribed to different hearing by different recorders, and to the spellings those recorders used. It is plausible to assume that, say, ‘yar-’ with an audible /r/ as in say ‘yarba’ and ‘yurba’, indicated repetition.
Some of the examples have the syllable ‘-ba’ attached. This is a suffix indicating ‘do’, as was suggested in ‘Five verbal suffixes’ of March 2012 in the naabawinya blog [“-ba and -ma do not appear to be ‘status suffixes’ but rather stem-forming suffixes, indicating ‘do’ and ‘make’ ”
Dig, saw, swim, nod, sharpen, flutter (fly), as well as spread, (to) clean, flow, creak, clack and chirp all are repetitive actions.
As to the word ‘flutter’, it was used simply to distinguish the verb ‘to fly’ from the insect ‘fly’. The need for an alternative word to distinguish similar forms occurs from time to time, producing occasional oddities. So the alternative for ‘bark’ (of a tree) is ‘woof’ (for what dogs do). And ‘light’ (such as given by a torch) is distinguished by ‘lite‘ — an admittedly invented spelling to indicate ‘not-heavy'.
Sometimes English lacks convenient words, where there is no such problem in Australian languages. For example: young man, young woman, old man, old woman. There are also words for boy, girl and child, but English has these ready equivalents. The Bayala Databases have opted for:

young man
young woman
old man
old woman
For the last two, ‘crone’ and ‘codger’ were considered but rejected as being pejorative in tone. ‘Patriarch’ and ‘matriarch’ are not right either, but they are not offensive.
If anyone can think of better solutions, they can leave suggestions as a response to this blog entry. They would be welcome.
Sunday 1 July 2012