Australian Geographical Name Derivations

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Please try to keep this alphabetical. If there is a common prefix, such as "Mt", index by the name of the feature.

"ADB" is a reference to the Australian Dictionary of Biography Online

John Cosgrove and Charles and Henry York were the first settlers and they named one of their large land holdings Adaminaby (properly spelt Adamindumee and possibly meaning 'resting place' or 'place of springs' in the local Aboriginal language). If a tourist mispronounces the name, locals have known to tell a tall story that it was named after the first settlers in the area, a couple named "Adam 'n Abby".
Mt Alice Rawson 
Alice Rawson was the daughter of Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson, Governor of NSW from 1902 to 1909.
Mt Anderson 
Charles Anderson was a mineralologist, palaentologist and museum director. Given the number of peaks named after people of similar background it is a reasonable bet that Mt Anderson is named after this bloke. ADB
Mt Anton 
Named after Charles Anton, one of the founders of Thredbo and one of the principal motivators of skiing in Australia. ADB
Mt Baw Baw 
It is reported that Baw Baw is aboriginal for 'echo' but the name could also come from 'Bo Bo', a name used on early maps meaning Big.
William Oliver selected land in the area. Oliver named the town after his home in Scotland.
Betts Camp 
A Charles Betts was a government surveyor.
An Aboriginal word meaning 'Spear Whistle'. Some think that a Bimblegumbie is the name of a spear that whistles as it is thrown through the air, others think that Bimblegumbie is the name of the sound/whistle the spear makes as it is flying through the air.
Blue Cow Mountain 
Named after a blue cow that always returned to this part of the park.
Blue Duck Inn 
Billy O’Connell, a successful miner, bought the building and obtained a hotel license in 1912, on the promise that the main road would pass the site, a promise that did not eventuate as the first survey submitted was turned down by the Government. So O'Connell nailed a panning dish to the front of the hotel and wrote with irony, 'Blue Duck' on it in large letters - a mining term for a white elephant. If you take out a gold lease and it produces no gold, it's universally known as a ‘blue duck’.
Blue Lake 
Because it looks blue.
(In many places and manifestations). Myth has it that the first white visitors asked what various features were called and were told "bogong" by the long term locals. What they were really being told was that bogong moths were found there (as they are). The confusion led the white visitors to think that "bogong" was a word for "mountain", or the name of the particular feature. Hence Mt Bogong, the Bogong High Plains, Dicky Cooper Bogong and several other features.
Boobee Hut 
The last pick on a land selection ballot, and thus the booby prize.
Brassy Mountains 
Sunlight reflecting off wet rocks was said to give these mountains a brassy appearance.
Brindabella Ranges 
The name is said to mean “two kangaroo rats” in the language of the local Aborigines. However, another account states that "Brindy brindy" was a local term meaning water running over rocks and bella was presumably added by the Europeans as in "bella vista".
Is an Aboriginal word meaning "mass of rock with a hole in it", which makes sense.
Mt Buller 
Mt Buller was named in honour of Charles Buller of the Colonial Office and was first ascended by Europeans in 1853.
Bullocks Flat 
Bullocks Hut was built in 1934 for Dr. Bullock as a fishing lodge. The area is named after the doctor.
Bulls Peak 
A wild bull that resisted capture for many years hung around here.
Burnt Hut Spur 
Lovicks Hut, a cattlemans hut, was built on this spur. The hut burnt down whereupon it became known as Burnt Hut.
A locality near Cooma, means "pigeons' resting place".
Byatts Camp 
Leo Byatt, was a well-known local stockman in the 1920s. He pioneered the route up Hannels Spur
The name Cabramurra may be derived from Wiradjuri "gambirra marra", meaning "crooked hand".
Mt Carruthers 
Joseph Carruthers was a Premier of NSW. He held land in the Jindabyne area, and approved the construction of a road to the summit of Mt Kosciusko (which probably increased the value of his land). ADB
Charlotte Pass 
Philip Francis Adams, the District Surveyor at Cooma, brought a group to the area in 1881. He named the area after his daughter Charlotte who accompanied the group.
Mt Clarke 
Named after Rev William Branwhite Clarke who first did a geological survey of the area. ADB The Aboriginal name was Quitang.
Cleve Cole Hut 
This large and comfortable hut was built in 1937 at the head of sheltered Camp Valley on Mt Bogong. It is a memorial to Cleve Cole who died in 1936 after being caught in an epic blizzard near the summit for a week. Cole had been a great promoter of Mt Bogong's potential as a ski destination and Bivouac Hut on Staircase Spur had been built after lobbying from him. His plans to develop Mt Bogong also included the Hut later named after him, Summit Hut, snowpole lines and a road. All except the road had been built within three years of his death. Cleve Cole Hut
Club Lake 
So named because it resembles the shape of clubs on playing cards. This lake was formerly named Harnetts Lake, possibly after Maurice Harnett who owned Anembo Station with and area of 38,000 acres. The Harnett's were a pioneer family in the Monaro area.
Consett Stephens Pass 
Consett Stephens was an early President of the Ski Club of Australia.
Derives its name from the Aboriginal word coombah, variously meaning “lake,” “sandbank,” “one,” and “big swamp.”
Place where eagles drink.
Cow Camp 
There was a cattleman's hut here.
Old logging tracks can still scar the slopes of the Crackenback Range (which is down the valley from Thredbo) and the materials for the fencing at the top of the ridge were carried from the valley . Locals claim this gave name to "Crack-em-back". Another version relates to cracking the whip across the bullock’s backs to drive them up the steep slopes and yet another anecdote relates to the aborigines claiming that the steep ascent would "Crack-yer-back". The Alpine Pioneer, a contemporary newspaper, refers to the "Crack-em-back" diggings as does this report of the scandalous behaviour of a gold commissioner.
Crooks Racecourse 
Named after Mr Crooks, who grazed cattle in the area and who was notoriously languid and unhurried. On one occasion, at this spot, he unaccountably spurred his horse and took off at high speed.
Dainers Gap 
Bill Dainer was a drover.
Dead Horse Gap 
Unexpected snowfalls in the past trapped wild horses, which died in this area.
Dicky Cooper Bogong 
Dicky Cooper was the king of one of the local Aboriginal tribes which had this area as its traditional place for collecting bogong moths.
The excursions of these tribes and groups were contrary to the usual fixed tribal boundaries...The pilgrimage halted on these corroboree grounds at foot of the main range for two reasons. Firstly, the exchange of greetings and ensuing social ceremonies. Secondly because they were not permitted by tribal laws to proceed to the tops until a certain rite had been performed.
This rite was performed near two large granite rocks on the Big Bugong, by an advance party. Bull roarers were used and the ceremonial was accompanied by much noise and shouting. On completion of the rite a smoke signal was put up and only then, never before, the tribes assembled on the corroboree grounds broke up into their seperate groups and proceeded independently to the tops. Eventually reaching the tops some groups camped there, others built their mia mias [shelters] lower down in more sheltered positions making a daily excursion to gather the moths. There is some evidence to show that the groups did not wander over the tops indiscriminately, but that each group may have had its own pitch. A chief known as Dicky Cooper brought his group to the same place year after year. This locality came to be known as Dicky Cooper's Bugong.
Diggers Creek 
Named for gold diggers.
Dinner Plain 
When coaches started running between Omeo and Bright, they stopped at Dinner Plain for midday dinner, hence the area became known as Dinner Plain.
Disappointment Spur 
A group of stockmen travelling from near Gungartan to Jindabyne (probably to attend a Bible class) followed this ridge, only to be disappointed when they could not cross the Snowy River.
Dunlops Knob 
An insignificant lump on the ridge at Falls Creek, named after a very important person who sometimes skis at Falls Creek.
Etheridge Range 
Robert J Etheridge appears to have been a naturalist who busied himself around the countryside in the late 1800s. ADB
A banner (OK, sign) with this strange device used to be in the middle of nowhere in Little Austria. James Spencer called his cattle run on the Kosciuszko plateau The Excelsior Run. It is probably named after a famous poem by Longfellow - Excelsior
Falls Creek 
Falls Creek was first called Horseshoe Creek by the early cattlemen. Due to the boggy conditions, horses often lost a shoe in this area. The creek was renamed by the Country Roads Board, while carrying out a road survey for the State Electricity Commission in 1938.
Mt Feathertop 
During the winter snow on the mountain's summit can be seen for many kilometres - hence the name "Feathertop".
Gaden Trout Hatchery 
James Gaden was a local grazier.
The SMA subcontractor who pushed the road through to Guthega was named Guthrie. He came from Bega. "Guthrie" and "Bega" were combined to create Guthega.
Guthries Creek 
Named after FB Guthrie, a professor at Sydney University. ADB Or it could be named after road-building Guthrie (cf Guthega)
Hannels Spur 
The track up Hannels Spur to the alpine zone was cut in the mid-1920s to take cattle up to the area around Mt Townsend. This avoided having to take the stock through to Dead Horse Gap and up via the Rams Head Range above what is now Thredbo Village.
The work was organised by Kerry Pierce who was in partnership with Alf Hannel. The route was chosen by Leo Byatt, a well-known local stockman. An area below Abbott Ridge is still marked on maps as Byatts Camp.
Happy Jacks Crek/Plain 
This area was named after a miner who found gold here (presumably making him happy).
Horse Camp Hut 
An SMA survey hut in the Whites River corridor. There were horse yards nearby.
Horsehair Plain/Hut 
Horsehair Plain got its name when a horses tail was pulled and the tail hairs left hanging up in a tree. Bush horses had to have their long tails "pulled", as they tended to pick up bits of scrub if they were not.
Mt Hotham 
Named after Sir Charles Hotham, Governor of Victoria in 1855. ADB
Illawong Hut 
View of the waters.
Indi River 
Alternate name for the Upper Murray River. Indi is the Aboriginal name for the river.
Island Bend 
Named by a stockman, Perry Harris. There was an island in the bend of the Snowy River (now flooded).
Spelt in earlier days 'Jindaboine' for 'a valley'.
The Kerries 
Charles Kerry was a photographer and was known as the father of Australian skiing. He led the first winter ascent of Mt Kosciuszko in 1897. The Kerries are a range of hills to the north of Schlink Pass and south of Jagungal. ADB
The area was know as Khancoban because the first settlers’ huts were stone shelters built by convicts under the control of soldiers brought to Australia from England. “Khan” meant “place” or ”hut” in India, and as the convict overseers were named “Coban” then the area became known as “Coban’s Khan”, and later the soldiers changed this to “Khancoban”.
Sharp stones for knives. Presumably there was a quarry nearby.
The Kiewa River takes its name from the local aboriginal word for sweet water.
Mt Kosciuszko 
Named because Mr Strzelecki ADB, the discoverer of the mountain, perceived a similarity to the tomb of Kosciuszko in Cracow, Poland. Kosciuszko was a Polish patriot. There have often been suggestions that Mt Townsend was the peak climbed and named by Strzelecki. This is a fascinating extract from The 1909 Australian Yearbook.
"Thus, the height of Mount Kosciusko is given as "about 7300 feet." Various measurements of the peak originally called by that name showed it to be slightly lower than its neighbour, Mount Townsend, and the names were thereupon transposed by the New South Wales Lands Department, so that Mount Kosciusko still remains the highest peak of Australia, and Mount Townsend, given by the Geodetical Survey of Victoria as 7266 feet, ranks as second. Officially the height of Mount Kosciusko is now stated as 7328 feet."
Kunama Basin & Hut 
Aboriginal for "snow".
Lady Northcotes Creek/Canyon 
Lady Northcote was the wife of Lord Northcote, the second Governor General of Australia from 1904 to 1908.
Mt Lee 
Charles Alfred Lee ADB was a politician, at about the time that mountains were being named in the Snowies. Mt Lee may have been named after him. (cf Mt Carruthers)
Little Austria 
An area to the west of Kosciuszko and Townsend that is considerably more rugged and mountainous (and thus Austria like) than most of the main range.
Mawsons Hut 
Built in the early 1930s by cattle station manager Herb Mawson.
Aboriginal word meaning "treeless plain", or perhaps "woman's breasts".
Moscow Villa Hut 
A hut in the Victorian Alps. It was built by Mr Bill Ah Chow in 1941. The hut was completed the same day that the Battle of Moscow was being fought in World War II, but after the war visitors to the hut at the time thought that name was not politic, so he told them it stood for "My own Summer Cottage Officially Welcome Visitors Inside Light Luncheon Available". Moscow Villa
Muellers Peak 
Named after Dr (later Baron) Ferdinand von Mueller who was an early explorer of the alpine region ADB.
Munyang (or Muniong) 
The Reverend William Branwhite Clarke (an early explorer in the region with expertise in geology) named it after an Aboriginal word which he spelt 'Muniong' and claimed meant 'big white mountain' in the language of the locals. Alternatively Munayang means "meeting place for corroboreees".
Murray River 
Named by Charles Sturt in 1830. The river was named after Sir George Murray, the Secretary of State for Colonies.
Murrumbidgee River 
Aboriginal name meaning "big water".
New Chum Hill 
At Kiandra. It was by a strange way of fate that New Chum Hill; a rich gold-bearing ground came by its name. A party of two or three men, newly arrived from Great Britain, pitched their tent beside that of another tent which belonged to a party of miners who were working a claim on a flat through the centre of which, ran a branch of the main river. Next day the ‘new chums’ as all new arrivals were called, inquired from the more experienced miners as to the most likely place to set in to work. “Start and drive a tunnel into that hill yonder”, answered one of them in a joke, indicating a place where gold was the least likely to be found. To the astonishment of everyone and amid jeers of the onlookers, the tunnel was driven into that hill. In a few days the gold was struck, marvellously rich. Then the miners wondered and said, “Who would have thought it?” The new chums made their pile in a few short months, and returned to Great Britain to enjoy their easily-earned fortune.
Sometime about 1830 the early settlers spelt it Nimoitebool, this being their translation of the native word meaning "The source of many streams"
Nimmos Plains 
William Nimmo was a hydraulic engineer. Although he did not appear to work on the Snowy Scheme he corresponded with William Hudson, the Commissioner of the scheme, so it is worth a shot. ADB
The name of one of the Aboriginal tribes that occupied the area.
Olsens Lookout 
Olav Trygve Olsen completed a survey of the area's suitability for a hydro-electric scheme prior to World War II. ADB
Mountains. Or the name of the local tribe.
Opera House Hut 
Named by SMA engineers because it cost more to build per square metre than the Sydney Opera House. This hut is no more, burned in the 2003 fires.
Mt Paralyser 
James Spencer, who named Perisher, is said to have said, in bad weather, "If that was a perisher this is a paralyser". The name stuck.
The Pendergasts were an early pioneering family in the Jindabyne district. Lea is a name for a meadow or field. Penderlea is a property on the Alpine Way.
James Spencer, an early grazier, was attempting to rescue livestock trapped in the high country. Braving the full force of the blizzard as they crested The Gap, he is alleged to have said - "This is truly a perisher!" This story may be apocryphal. Another theory is that a herd of cows was caught in a blizzard and perished.
Pipers Creek  
A bullock called Piper used to hang about this creek.
Plains of Heaven 
Some stockman with a surprising taste for hyperbole decided that these plains were pretty attractive.
Means "meeeting of the waters".
Prussian Creek 
Another one named after an animal. A horse called Prussian was often found in this area.
Rawsons Pass 
Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson was Governor of NSW from 1902 to 1909. ADB
Rock Creek 
In Perisher Valley had a large rock on its banks near a stockmen's camp.
The Rolling Grounds 
Brumbies used to roll in shallow depressions that were dried up ponds.
Roslyn Lodge 
The Australian Alpine Club lodge at Thredbo is named in honour of Roslyn Wesche, who was killed in the avalanche that destroyed Kunama Hut.
Sawpit Creek 
Named because there was a pit for sawing logs, using a two handed saw. The person with the short straw stood in a pit, below the log.
Scammels Ridge 
The ridge was named after the Scammell family who were among the early selectors in the Khancoban area during the 1860s.
Schlink Pass and Schlink Hilton 
Dr Herbert Schlink began cross-country skiing expeditions in the early-1920s and in 1925/26 Schlink convinced the New South Wales Tourism Commission to assist with construction of two huts for a proposed Kiandra to Hotel Kosciusko expedition which were successfully competed in 1927. Both of these huts remain. Tin Hut is much as it was constructed and Pounds Creek Hut was extended to form Illawong Lodge in 1956. The Schlink Hilton was an SMA hut near the Pass named for its comfort. ADB
Seamans Hut 
This hut, on the Etheridge Range, was built as a memorial to Mr Seaman, an American tourist who died in the vicinity during a blizzard.
Smiggin Holes 
Named after salt licks that existed here. Smiggin holes is a scots word for salt licks.
Snowy Mountains 
Joseph Wild, an ex convict, is credited with naming the "Snowy Mountains" on sighting the snow covered ranges from a hill near Bungendore, in August 1820.
Spargos Hut 
Bill Spargo was a Hotham pioneer.
Spencers Creek 
James Spencer was one of the first people to run cattle on the high country, in the 1840s. One version says that Spencer fell off his horse into the creek. One of his stockmen is said to have said "If he wants a swim he can have the creek to himself", and the name stuck.
Strzeleckis Creek 
Named after Sir Paul Strzelecki, climber of Kosciuszko and explorer ADB
Suggan Buggan 
It seems that the town's name came from the Aboriginal expression 'bukkan bukkan' which was a term used to describe bags made from grass.
Talbingo resident Jack Bridle, whose family were early settlers of the area, suggests that the name is a corruption of the English word "tall" and the Aboriginal words "Binji", "Binge" or "Bingo" meaning belly. Mount Talbingo resembles the big belly of a man lying down.
Mt Tate 
Named to honour Ralph Tate, Professor of Geology at Adelaide University ADB
Named after the valley in which the village is. The Thredbo river runs below the village.
Thompsons Plains 
May be named after Captain Thompson, an early settler.
Tin Hut 
Made of corrugated iron.
Tom Groggin 
Reported to be derived from the Aboriginal word ‘tomarogin’ meaning ‘water spider’. Jack Riley, Banjo Patterson's inspiration for The Man from Snowy River was the manager of Tom Groggin Station.
Mt Townsend 
Named after Assistant Surveyor-General Townsend .
Trapyard Creek 
Site of a trapyard for catching brumbies.
Probably means 'sounding ground'. It has been suggested that there are places in the district where if you hit the ground it has a hollow sound.
A camp or resting place by the river.
Mt Twynam 
Edward Twynam was the Surveyor General, in the early 1890's.
Valentine Hut 
The name Valentine was derived because it was painted red, with white hearts. Over the years the hut has been repainted and the original valentine theme no longer exists.
Waste Point 
Surveyors who conducted a survey of the area decided that the swampy area at the join of the Thredbo and Snowy Rivers was waste, and not worth surveying, so it was called Waste Point. James Spencer had a guest house here. It is said that Banjo Patterson wrote part of The Man From Snowy River here. On other early maps this site is called "West Point".
Mt Wheatley/Wheatleys Gap 
Mr Wheatley had a property named Kara between Berridale and Jindabyne.
Whites River Hut 
Obviously named after the nearby Whites River (except for the inconvenient fact that there is no Whites River marked in the vicinity on modern topographical maps.) The Munyang River used to be called the Whites River by stockmen.
Wilsons Valley 
A prospector named Wilson camped here.
Windy Creek 
Aptly named. Very breezy.
Wragges Creek 
Named after Clement Wragge, who established a meteorological observatory on the top of Mt Kosciuszko. ADB
Flowing Stream.