When things stand out from prevailing norms, they perk up the interest of any scientist. I've often wondered about Wagga Wagga, the largest non-coastal city in New South Wales. The other towns in Oz of which Irish people have heard are named for solid Victorian politicians, governors or royalty - Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Adelaide. Woollongong is clearly one exception to this and Wagga Wagga is another. It's easy enough to figure out that they are named through one of the 1000+ indigenous languages of the Continental Island. How do I know the number? Because ABC the Australian Broadcasting Corpo has recently produced a luscious colour map of them. Link thanks to Tywkiwdbi. It has an amusing feature that mousing over the map produces a Sherlock Holmes circular magnification so that you can actually read the names rather than just enjoy the colours.
It shows that Wagga Wagga (red-circled lower-right) is in the middle of territory occupied by the Wiradjuri people both now and at the time of European settlement. The Wiradjuri don't seem to have a Baden-Baden stutter but all their immediate neighbours to the West do: BarabaBaraba, DadiDadi, LatjeLatje, MadiMadi, NariNari, WadiWadi, WembaWemba, YithaYitha, YortaYorta. So maybe the key ford over the Murrumbidgee River was held by a group of these intrusive Westerners as later intrusive Westerners built a settlement that became a city on the site?
And the First Australians are as woolly about their names as the Irish: the Wiradjuri are aka Waradgeri, Warandgeri, Waradajhi, Werogery, Wiiratheri, Wira-Athoree, Wiradjuri, Wiradhuri, Wiradhurri, Wiraduri, Wiradyuri, Wiraiarai, Wiraidyuri, Wirajeree, Wirashuri, Wiratheri, Wirracharee, Wirrai'yarrai, Wirrathuri, Wooraguri.
Next week: Walla Walla, Washington.