Aboriginal place names
Aboriginal place names and their translations

Naidoc week in Australia is held annually in the first week of July, to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements.

If you happen to pass any of these places in Melbourne, why not make it an opportunity to share the aboriginal meaning of the place name with your family or friends?


The plain where kangaroos live




Camp or resting place


From "merndi" meaning "earth"


Granite outcrops in the hills.

Moonee Ponds

Traditionally named Moonee Moonee Ponds, the name is said to come from Wurundjeri willam man, a member of the Billibellary people who died serving the native police corps in Wimmera in 1845. It is thought that the name was derived from an Aboriginal word for lizard.


The name of this eastern portion of the former City of Caulfield is an adaptation of the Aboriginal word Mirambeena. Supposedly named after a member of the native police.

Narre Warren

The name appears to be of Aboriginal derivation, suggesting either "hilly country" or "no good water".


Nunawading derives its name from a local Aboriginal word translated variously as "meeting place", "battlefield" and "ceremonial ground".


George Langhorne, who ran a missionary for Aborigines from 1836, called this area "Pur-ra-ran", using local indigenous words believed to mean "land partially surrounded by water."


'Swamp with rushes'


The name is thought to derive from Tullamareena, a young member of the Wurundjeri (who later in 1838 escaped from the first Melbourne Gaol, burning it down in the process) according to Reverend Langhorne, an advisor to the first government surveyor, Robert Hoddle.

*Thanks to our reader Ittay Flescher who coordinated the Yorta Yorta Beyachad Program, fostering Jewish-Aboriginal partnerships at Mount Scopus Memorial College, and sent in this item.
Attributions: Ittay's source material came from this Melbourne Herald-Sun article We thank him for his wonderful contribution.

If you would like to add more names, or have any queries, please write to the Publisher of Jewish Australia.com