Sunday 8 September 2013

Wagga Wagga

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.

1 comment:

  1. Good timing. Today's the anniversary of the coronation of Queen Adelaide (for whom the capital of South Australia is named) in 1831. Adeliade was founded five years later and the old lady pegged out in 1849.