Origins of Yass Valley Town Names
Picture of Yass courtesy of the State Library of NSW.
Here’s a fun quiz about the origins of the names of local towns. See if you can get them right.
|Town||Answer 1||Answer 2||Answer 3|
|Binalong (established 1839)||Aboriginal word that means ‘under the hills, surrounded by hills,’ or ‘towards a high place’||Named by European settlers who took a long time to travel there from Sydney, i.e.., ‘It’s been a long time’l||Derived from Bennelong (1764 – 1813) the Sydney Aboriginal man who was captured by Governor Arthur Phillip|
|Bookham (originally called Cumbookambookinah)||Derived from the fact that the small town once had a large library||Named after the town of ‘Bookham’ in Surrey, England||Of Aboriginal origin (unknown meaning). Lady Franklin, the wife of the Governor of Van Diemen’s Land stayed with the Green family of Cumbookambookinah. Mrs Green complained about the name of the town, and Lady Franklin, seeing Mr Green’s hams hanging from the ceiling suggested the name ‘Bookham’|
|Bowning||Derived from the American Browning shotgun company||Derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘big hill’||Derived from Colin Arrott Browning (1791-1856), naval surgeon|
|Burrinjuck||Derived from an Aboriginal word meaning ‘mountain with a rugged top’||Came from ‘Barren Jack City’||Came from the name of a famous race horse, Barren Jack|
|Good Hope||Derived from the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa||Coined by a settler who previously had back luck||Unknown origin|
|Gundaroo||Derived from the Aboriginal name ‘Canderiro’ which was recorded by Charles Throsby in 1820||Derived from an Aboriginal word for the Yass River which was ‘Boongaroon’ or ‘Gondoroo’||Derived from settlers shooting kangaroos, i.e., gun-the-roo|
|Murrumbateman||Named after a squatter called Murray Bateman||Derived from Ngunnawal words ‘murra’ meaning hand, ‘murun’ meaning alive, and ‘murrin’ meaning man||Derived from one of the district’s pioneer inn-keepers, a Mr Bateman. A local drinker was said to order his drinks with a call for “More rum, Bateman”|
|Sutton||Means ‘South Settlement’ in old Saxon language||Named after Henry Sutton (1855-1912), a famous Australian inventor||Cell Named after the English village of Sutton (situated about eleven miles from Westminster-bridge)|
|Walleroo||Named after a town of the same name in South Australia||Named after very shy and very rarely spotted woolly black wallabies||Named after a ship, the Walleroo|
|Wee Jasper||Named after a little Scottish boy||Named after a famous greyhound||Named after the small jasper gemstones found there|
|Yass||Derived from an Aboriginal word, ‘Yarrh’ or ‘Yharr’, said to mean running water||Named by Hamilton Hume when he finally found a site for his homestead||Named after the Young Applicants in Schools Scheme|
Answers: According to our research the town names came from: Binalong Answer 1; Bookham Answer 3; Bowning Answer 2; Burrinjuck Answer 1; Good Hope Answer 3; Gundaroo Answers 1 & 2; Murrumbateman Answers 2 & 3; Sutton Answer 1; Walleroo Answer 2; Wee Jasper Answer 3; Yass Answer 1.
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