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’.

kangaroo

Australian
respelt
English
JSM
source
"moane"
muni =
"kangaroo"
kangaroo  :
KAOL Ridley [Lr HUNT] [:124:15.4] [NrN]
"*moani"
muni =
"kangaroo"
kangaroo  :
Schmidt, P.W.: NORTH [:117.21:19] [Awa/Kgai?]
"moani"
muni =
"the kangaroo."
kangaroo  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:54:54] [Awa]
"Munnee"
mani =
"Paddymelon"
pademelon  :
SofM 19000922 [132.1 Rankin–Richmond Tweed R] [:133.1:51] [Bjlg]
"Munnee"
mani =
"Paddymelon"
pademelon  :
SofM 19000922 [132.1 Rankin–Richmond Tweed R] [:133.1:51] [Bjlg]
"Munnee"
mani =
"Paddymelon"
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]
"Munee"
mani =
"Paddymelon (Nambucca district)"
pademelon  :
AntSoc 456 [42 Critchett Walker–NSW] [:63:63] [Gmbgr]
"Moanee"
muni =
"Kangaroo"
kangaroo  :
SofM 18991221 [209.1 Gostelow-Bathurst] [:209.2:23] []


ill

"munni"
mani =
"sickness"
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]
"munni"
mani =
"sickness."
ill  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:54:62] [Awa]
"munni"
mani =
"to be sick, ill, or to be diseased."
ill  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:60:29] [Awa]
"munni"
mani =
"sickness"
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

1 comment:

David Nash said...

The first vowel of the 'ill' word appears to be /a/ as you list, which doesn't match "Mooney".
For what it's worth, for the placename Moonee Moonee to the north in the Coffs Harbour district the NSW Geographical Names Register has: "Munee a paddymelon. Moonee Moonee meant plenty of paddymelons (a small wallaby found here in great numbers by early settlers). (GNB 159)" However the Darkinyung dictionary lacks a match.