While accurate information around the origins and traditional Indigenous names for many communities and sites within the Gympie region is not easy to confirm, the State Government does list some, with question marks where even they are not 100% certain. Embracing our Indigenous past and those traditional place names is a growing trend and a fascinating journey of discovery. In this image we imagi
While accurate information around the origins and traditional Indigenous names for many communities and sites within the Gympie region is not easy to confirm, the State Government does list some, with question marks where even they are not 100% certain. Embracing our Indigenous past and those traditional place names is a growing trend and a fascinating journey of discovery. In this image we imagi

24 Gubbi Gubbi placenames of Gympie region revealed

The Gubbi Gubbi are the traditional custodians of much of the Gympie region, and parts of the Noosa region, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay.

The traditional lands of the Gubbi Gubbi people stretched from the northern banks of the Pine River in the south; to Burrum River in the north near Maryborough and to the Conondale Ranges in the west. Their traditional lands include Redcliffe, Bribie Island, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Maryborough, Gympie, Caboolture and Petrie.

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According to the State Library of Queensland, “It should be acknowledged that the landscape of South-East Queensland had traditional names prior to the settlement of Moreton Bay in 1824. Some have been maintained in place names or landmarks, others have been lost and replaced by introduced names or anglicised versions.”

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Gympie, or “gimpi” was the Gubbi Gubbi name for a stinging tree which grew prolifically around the Mary River, and the name was given to one of the river’s tributaries, Gympie Creek.

John Mathew's 1910 map of the country of the Kabi and Wakka peoples - Wikipedia
John Mathew's 1910 map of the country of the Kabi and Wakka peoples - Wikipedia

But our Aboriginal past is all around us, with many other local locations having their name’s origins in the Aboriginal language, and so named long before white man moved into the area.

Here are just a few of the notes and original names of common landmarks and communities in the Gympie region.

Tin Can Bay

Derived from Bay name, which is from either Yuggera language, Yugarabul dialect, word tinchin = mangrove, possibly obtained by Andrew Petrie (1798-1872) builder and architect, on his Mary River expedition in 1842, or from Kabi language, Dulinbara dialect, Doombarah Clan, word tinken = vine with large ribbed leaves. Refer J.G. Steele. Aboriginal Pathways. Brisbane, 1944, p.186. Town name was originally Wallu, changed to Tin Can Bay 25 February 1937.

Woolooga

Derived from the railway station name used from 1886, reportedly an Aboriginal word from the Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) language, from wului = smoke and tha = ground/place.

Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire in 2018. It’s fascinating that the Indigenous origins of the word Woolooga is from the Gubbi Gubbi words for smoke and ground/place.
Aerial footage of the aftermath of the Woolooga fire in 2018. It’s fascinating that the Indigenous origins of the word Woolooga is from the Gubbi Gubbi words for smoke and ground/place.

Goomeri

Reportedly an Aboriginal word, Waka language, Bujiebara dialect, indicating kurrajong tree and the shield made from it, probably a variant taken from the Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) language, gudmeri or kunmarin. (Kurrajong=sterculia diversifolia).

Theebine

Theebine is derived from Waka word dhil-bvain, indicating lung fish, Ceratodus Forsterii. Refer F.J. Watson. Vocabularies of Four Representative Tribes of South Eastern Queensland. Brisbane, 1944.

Town surveyed as Coorindah, plan lodged April 1886, changed to Theebine 13 March 1895.

Wolvi

Derived from Aboriginal word, Kabi (Gubbi Gubbi) language, Dulingbara dialect, wolvai or wollai, indicating a young kangaroo almost weaned. Refer J.G. Steele. Aboriginal pathways. Brisbane, 1983, p.185.

Tuchekoi

Derived from Mount Tuchekoi, which name is reportedly a Kabi language origin, a European corruption of dha/chu/koi = place of fig trees.

Dagun

Derived from railway station name used from January 22, 1914, reportedly an Aboriginal word, language and dialect unknown, indicating home camp.

Imbil

Derived from pastoral run name, first used in 1857, by Clement Francis Lawless (1815-1877) and Paul Lawless (1817-1865) pastoralists, using an Aboriginal word, (Kabi?) language, indicating scrub vine.

Melawondi

Formerly a railway station name, reportedly the clan name of an Aboriginal group in the area.

Kandanga

Probably derived from Aboriginal koondangoor, Kabi language, indicating mountainous. Refer J.G. Steele. Aboriginal pathways. Brisbane, 1983,

Amamoor

A pastoral run of this name and in this locality was held by J.D. Mc Taggart in the late 1850s. It is listed as Amamoor or Police Creek. The parish was probably named for this run. Reportedly from 1. Ngamung-moor, meaning “like milk”, possibly because of white clay coloured water (amung = breast, ngur = belonging to) (Dippil dialect). 2. Amamah ”running water” (unknown dialect and language).

While accurate information around the origins and traditional Indigenous names for many communities and sites within the Gympie region is not easy to confirm, the State Government does list some, with question marks where even they are not 100% certain. Embracing our Indigenous past and those traditional place names is a growing trend and a fascinating journey of discovery. In this image we imagi
While accurate information around the origins and traditional Indigenous names for many communities and sites within the Gympie region is not easy to confirm, the State Government does list some, with question marks where even they are not 100% certain. Embracing our Indigenous past and those traditional place names is a growing trend and a fascinating journey of discovery. In this image we imagi

Gootchie

Formerly a grazing property and railway station name, Gootchie (formerly spelt Gutchy) is reportedly an Aboriginal word, Kabi language, Badjala dialect, indicating sand goanna.

Tiaro

Derived from pastoral run/Parish name, run name used from 1840s, being a corruption of the Kabi language, Dauwabra dialect, word dauwa indicating dead trees.

Boreen Point

Boreen is not a local word, but comes from the Aboriginal tribes around Moreton Bay. It referred to the pathway that led between the two boras in the kippa-ring.

Cootharaba

This was the Aboriginal name for the lake. It meant place where the wood used in making notched or studded clubs could be found.

Lake Cootharaba near Boreen Point. Cootharaba means the place where the wood used in making notched or studded clubs can be found. Photo: Nicola Powell
Lake Cootharaba near Boreen Point. Cootharaba means the place where the wood used in making notched or studded clubs can be found. Photo: Nicola Powell

Cooran

From guran meaning tall trees or Moreton Bay ash.

Cooroibah

(Lake Cooroibah) Place of possums.

Kin Kin

The name Kin Kin is derived from the Aboriginal kauin kauin meaning red soil. The school was previously called Bellbird Creek Flat School. The creek was formerly King King Creek. * Kin Kin = king king – Aboriginal name for a species of small black ant, prevalent in the area.

Gilldora

Formerly a railway station name, first used October 16, 1922, reportedly an artificial word from the surname of someone Gillman, a local resident and “dorado”, given as an Aboriginal word, no language or dialect details recorded, indicating pleasant place.

Bli Bli

(Billai) Swamp oak tree (Bli Bli - many forest oak trees.

Noosa

The Aboriginal people called Noosa Head, Wantima, meaning rising up or climbing up (Petrie). The name first used by white people was Bracefield’s Head or Cape Bracefield. This was as a result of an exploratory party involving Andrew Petrie and others finding the runaway convict, Bracefield, living with the Kabi Kabi people in the area in 1842. However it came to be given a permanent name of Aboriginal derivation meaning shade or shadow. * Noothera or Gnuthuru = shadow or shady place.

Bauple

Derived from Mount Bauple, an Aboriginal name derived from Kabi word “baupval” indicating frilled lizard, associated with the legend attached to the mountain.

Tewantin

It was timber that brought the first white men to the area, and the felled logs were dragged or rafted to a sawmill set up in the 1860s on the shores of Lake Doonella. The timber was shipped out down the Noosa River from there to Brisbane. So a name meaning dead wood or place of dead logs seems appropriate. *dauwadhum = place of dead logs.

The Gympie Times acknowledges the Gubbi Gubbi Dyungungo Group.

Some of the information was gained from the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy website, some from the Queensland State Library.

Gympie Times


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