This work is conducted in memory and respectfully honours the First Australian People,
the Aboriginal People of this land.
Kurri Kurri, the most important word and place
According the this recently unearthed 1933 article below, Kurri Kurri, a township in Newcastle, South Wales is the most important place in all the world.
Kurri Kurri is also the most important word in the Awabakal First Nations Aboriginal language, as it refers to the place where the Great Spirit commenced and completed the Creation in the making of human beings, known as Kuri.
Is it the original Australian Garden of Eden? Read on and let us know what you think.
We thank Mr Kim Smith who unearthed and sent us this article in his quest for the writings of J. J. Moloney, a significant Newcastle antiquarian scholar. If anyone has any knowledge of any further manuscript writings or archives of Moloney, please let us know.
Mr. John Joseph Moloney (1866-1937)
Mr. John Joseph Moloney was a prominent Newcastle businessman and a founder and Secretary of the Australian Society of Patriots who promoted the causes of Aboriginal peoples across the Commonwealth. He was an authority on the original native dialects of the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Aboriginal languages. He is associated with the legendary Longworth Institute, once Newcastle’s literary and cultural heart. In 1928 William Longworth donated the building to the Australasian Society of Patriots to be used as a lecture hall, museum, art gallery and herbarium and was commonly referred to as the Empire Club. During the Longworth era it was used as a place of learning with a library, gallery and music recitals. The building remains, but its collections have long been dispersed. The President (Mr. R Weir) of the Newcastle Branch Australasian Society of Patriots, speaking on 10 January 1938 described:
“He had never known a man with a greater love of his native land, its birds, flowers, and animals, Mr. Moloney had originated the idea of having the area from the Hawkesbury to the Hunter River, from the railway to the ocean, proclaimed a sanctuary for Australia’s native birds and animals. The proposal was approved by the Crown, and the area, with other portions of island territory on the eastern coast, was gazetted. By this action of the late Secretary many beautiful native birds and animals had been saved from extinction.”
He died on Sunday 26 December 1937 aged 71.
For more on J. J. Moloney and the Australasian Society of Patriots consult Greg and Sylvia Ray’s Photo Time Tunnel site: https://www.phototimetunnel.com/mysteries-of-the-patriots
by J. J. Moloney, Newcastle
(Reprinted from BANK NOTES, October 1933 p. 43)
Kindly sourced and provided by Jim Smith
[Note: We have added subject headings to make the article easier to read]
The prominence accorded to the action of the Caledon Bay Australians who resisted the intrusion of aliens into their domestic affairs has directed attention to the question of local languages – or, more properly, dialects – which prevail throughout the continent.
Kamilaroi – Key Language of Australia
The key language of Australia is the Kamilaroi spoken on the Lower Guida (Gwydir) or, for present practical purposes, the Moree district.
Examples of Common Words
The many tribes had well-defined boundaries, and within such areas a tribal dialect prevailed. To make the position clear a few examples will suffice, viz. :-
Words similar to those used by neighbouring tribes frequently occur, and amply demonstrate the relationship without delving into the ethnological issue.
The Awabakal Dialect
The Awabakal dialect may be centralised at Lake Macquarie. The original name of that beautiful expanse of water was Awaba, and hence the name of the nation. This dialect was in use between the Hunter and Hawkesbury Rivers, and from it many of the names of the places in the County of Northumberland were obtained.
Mulubinba – Site of the City of Newcastle
The site of the city of Newcastle was known to the Australians prior to the advent of the invader as Mulubinba. The meaning of the word is derived from the fact that a species of rhubarb abounded in the swampy lands adjacent to the port, and was termed “Mulubin.” The affix “ba” signifies “of,” and hence Mulubinba – the place of the Mulubin – where the Mulubin grows.
Tulkaba – Swansea
The location mis-named Swansea should be Tulkaba from Tulka (the ti-tree), where the ti-tree grows in profusion.
Tirrikiba is derived from Tirriki (flame), the flame of a wood-fire.
Nulkaba – near Cessnock
Nulkaba (near Cessnock) is from Nulka (iron) the iron-stone is visible on the roadside.
Minmi (Minmai) is the name of a giant lily of Australia.
Waratah rembrances the bloom which formerly adorned its landscape – the greatest bloom in the universe.
Kotara means a waddy used in defence or offence.
Awaba is the name of the lake, and signifies smooth water.
Wyee has reference to bush-fires.
Waiong – Wyong
Wyong (Waiong) is the name of the small yam or native potato used as food by the native people.
Tugra – Tuggerah
Tuggerah (Tugra) means a bleak, cold place.
Koolewong was the local name for the little native bear (koala).
Woy Woy (Wauwai) was the name of a dreaded fish, most probably the shark.
Deerubbin – The Hawkesbury River
The Hawkesbury River was called Deerubbin, and has reference to the legend of the great eel who forced his way from the Burragorang Valley to the open sea, leaving his trail behind him.
Kurri Kurri – Place where the Great Spirit commenced and completed Creation
Possibly the most important word in the district is that of Kurri Kurri. Here we have practically the same story as related in Genesis. All things were made in Kurri Kurri. Here the great Spirit commenced and completed the Creation. The site of the present town is quite modern, but the name will keep in memory the traditions of a great people. The word Kuri means man (mankind). The similarity of the two versions is remarkable and worthy of research with a view to establishing contact.
Killibinbin – Kilaben Bay
The date of the halo has recently been discussed in the metropolitan press, and the idea accorded to the ancient Greeks, but the Australians had forestalled the Greeks by centuries. The word Killibinbin (erroneously spelled Kilabin) provide the halo meaning. The word portrays the heavenly evanescent glory of the sun dancing on the waters. Imagination is not difficult to those who have witnessed the sun rising over the glorious prospect presented from an elevation at the end of Killibinbin Bay.
Awabakal Language Preserved
There is now no person living who can converse in Awabakal, but it is gratifying to know that the language has been, in a large measure preserved and available to students interested in the ethnology of possibly the most ancient section of the human race.
Queen Margaret and the History of the Awabakal post the arrival of the British
The dwindling of the nation commenced on contact with the British, and for some years the bulk of the people were settled at Puntel (Toronto). After 1841 the remnant crossed over to Tulkaba (Swansea), and at a spot known as Kalog-gabba (“Far Away”) the exit was made. Queen Margaret, recognised as the last full-blood of the Awabakal nation, died in Newcastle Hospital, and was interred at Sandgate (Newcastle District General Cemetery).
By J. J. Moloney, Newcastle
Article from Bank Notes October 1933, p.43 sourced and kindly provided by Mr. Jim Smith. Transcribed by Gionni Di Gravio, OAM
More articles on J.J. Moloney
PERSONAL. (1920, September 21). The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166214019
“BULBA” (1921, March 14). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article162608923
WANGI REGATTA (1924, January 4). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163223836 Meaning of word “Wangi” : “Where are you going?”
TOM DILLON (1924, May 10). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 2. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article165277533
NEW RAILWAY STATION (1924, October 3). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137776281 re: Kotara
A COMMENDABLE SCHEME (1926, January 12). The Horsham Times (Vic. : 1882 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73000592
THE PROPOSED ABORIGINAL STATE. (1927, September 30). Daylight (Adelaide, SA : 1919 – 1928), p. 6. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article263568982
Aborigine Graves. (1927, January 26). The Maitland Daily Mercury (NSW : 1894 – 1939), p. 4. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article125136484
ART IN NEWCASTLE (1927, February 10). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163405432
ART IN NEWCASTLE
VALUABLE OLD PRINTS
ABORIGINAL MISSIONS. (1927, August 4). Freeman’s Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 – 1932), p. 25. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article116750167
“ABORIGINAL GRAVES” The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954) 2 December 1927: 4. Web. 18 Jul 2023 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article163621815>.
“MOSCHETO ISLAND.” Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954) 21 June 1930: 14. Web. 19 Jul 2023 <http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article137862807>.
ABORIGINAL NAMES. (1931, October 6). Daily Mercury (Mackay, Qld. : 1906 – 1954), p. 11. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article170286877
“Kurri Kurri meant the ‘beginning of the world,’ and Hexham the ‘meeting of the waters,’ which, he said, he thought most apt Wyee was a bushfire, and Tirrikiba, the post office at the Steel Works, was ‘a place of flame,’ another apt name. Hamilton, he said, was formerly known as Nickimble, or ‘place of coal.’
BACK TO SCHOOL (1933, July 13). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), p. 8. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article135100793
ABORIGINAL NAME PLACES. (1934, January 4). The Gosford Times and Wyong District Advocate (NSW : 1906 – 1954), p. 12. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166953959
BULBA ISLAND’S INTEREST (1934, October 24). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), p. 23. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article134816095
“RECORD OF CRUELTY” (1935, April 1). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166101483
WHAT’S IN A NAME?’ (1935, April 9). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166091104
HOW IS THIS FOR A NAME? (1935, April 9). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 7. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166091095
SKULL AND BONES (1935, May 16). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article139249770
SKULL AND BONES “Many May Be Found” “MR. MOLONEY’S STATEMENT. The Secretary of the Australasian Society of Patriots (Mr. J. J. Moloney) said yesterday thatthe discovery of the skull and bones of an aboriginal, during excavation work in Church-street, Newcastle, need cause no surprise. Skulls and bones could be found in almost any backyard in the vicinity of Corlette, Laman, Tooke, Kenrick, and Union Streets…
TWO MORE HUMAN SKULLS FOUND (1935, May 16). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 10. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166097532
ABORIGINAL PLACE NAMES. (1936, July 8). Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate (NSW : 1876 – 1954), p. 6. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article140515772
Aboriginal Place Names. (1936, July 14). The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167101436
Australasian Society of Patriots. (1937, June 8). The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167099140
The Moree Baths. (1937, September 28). The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 1. Retrieved July 19, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167103401
LATE MR. J. J. MOLONEY (1937, December 27). The Newcastle Sun (NSW : 1918 – 1954), p. 5. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166678570
Passing of Mr. J. J. Moloney. (1938, January 7). The Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer (NSW : 1898 – 1954), p. 4. Retrieved July 18, 2023, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article167886336