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        KANGAROOBY

Kangarooby Creek photo

1 What do we believe is true so far?

There are several places and natural features with the Kangarooby name (or with its variant, Kangaroobie). All except one are in NSW. North-west of Cowra and near the small town of Gooloogong is a rural property, a parish, a creek and a mountain—all bearing the Kangarooby name. A little over 100 km to the south-west is another rural property and a village—this time called Kangaroobie. All of these are in Wiradjuri country. We know that the 'Kangarooby' property near Gooloogong was known by that name as early as 1839, and it’s probable that the naming of the creek, mountain and parish followed rather than preceded that. As for the 'Kangaroobie' property near Orange, it belonged originally to Thomas Kite and the earliest reference we have is from 1871 (in the form of 'Kangaroo Bay').

Much further south, not far from Goulburn and in Gundungurra or Dharug country, is another property with the name of 'Kangaroobie'. We have no current evidence of how it got its name, or when. (There is also a homestay property in Victoria called 'Kangaroobie'; it was named sometime after the 1851 goldrush but prior to 1878.)

Where might the name have come from? In this case, the most obvious answer is the most likely one: it’s based on 'kangaroo'. Although this is a Guugu Yimidhirr word from North Queensland, it was very early exported to the Sydney area and was the most well-known Aboriginal word in colonial society. Further, we know that many Aboriginal languages in eastern Australia use a <-by/-bie> suffix to indicate a meaning like 'place of'. Unsurprisingly, we are often told that Kangarooby means 'resting place of kangaroos'.

2 What more do we need?

We’re looking for source documents that would answer the following questions:

  • When was the 'Kangarooby' property near Gooloogong taken up, and by whom?

  • Were the nearby mountain and creek named for the property, or vice versa?

  • Is there anything that will tell us the intention behind the naming?

  • What about the 'Kangaroobie' homesteads near Orange and Goulburn?—the same questions apply.

  • Is there evidence that a word like <kangaroobie> was used in any NSW languages?

These are questions for historians and linguists. If you can help, contact Jan Tent.



 

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