Golden Pipeline

National Trust of WA

Explore The Golden Pipeline Heritage Trail

A self-guided drive trail between the Perth Hills and Western Australia’s Eastern Goldfields. Go with the Flow. Follow the water to discover more about the audacious goldfields water supply scheme and Engineer CY O’Connor.

Discover The people and the Scheme

“Future generations, I am quite certain will think of us and bless us for our far seeing patriotism, and it will be said of us, as Isaiah said of old, ‘They made a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” – Sir John Forrest

The People Aboriginal People

Aboriginal Place Names

Many of the place names you will encounter on the Heritage Trail have their origin in Aboriginal languages. Some are connected to water sources. Early European explorers relied on, and sometimes forced, Aboriginal people to take them across the land and show them where water could be found.

Europeans then often tried to transcribe the Aboriginal name for a place into English so that when they, or others, returned to the area they could use that name to ask the local people for their help in finding the place. In transcribing the sound of a place name, the Europeans often had no understanding of its meaning.

It is not surprising that over 100 years later more than one meaning is now claimed for many names. Some examples of place names and their possible Aboriginal derivations include;

  • Mundaring — possibly ‘a high place on a high place’. Ian Elliot goes into the origin of the present town’s name in his 1983 history of the Shire of Mundaring. On acquiring a vineyard with his father and brother in 1893 on what is now Mundaring Weir Road, Mathieson Jacoby enquired about the Aboriginal name of the place. Aboriginal people who often camped between the vineyard and Sawyers Valley responded Mundar-ing with the above meaning. The Aborigines pronounced it Mundahring with the emphasis on the first syllable but through common usage both townsite and weir take the pronunciation Mundairing. Elliot notes George Fletcher Moore in his 1842 descriptive vocabulary of Aboriginal words records grass tree leaves (or spines) as ‘Mindar’ so Mindaring would be the ‘place of the grass tree leaves’.
  • Meckering — place of water
  • Cunderdin — place of the bandicoot according to one source – place of many flowers according to another
  • Tammin — from “tammar”, a small wallaby
  • Kellerberrin — according to one source from “Keela”, a large ferocious ant, a colony of which was found on Kellerberrin Hill – according to another from “Kalla” meaning camping place and “berrin berrin” meaning the rainbow bird.
  • Baandee — from a word meaning to smell – or from another meaning swan.
  • Merredin — place of the Merritt tree
  • Yerbillon — big gully
  • Bodallin — big round rock
  • Noongar — tree by waterhole
  • Yilgarn — white quartz
  • Karalee — green grass where water flows
  • Gilgai — crab hole

I will not trouble your readers with the outlandish names of the various camping places along the route to the diggings, suffice it to say they were most of them named by the Blacks before the arrival of the white men … most of them are beginning with a B, and containing four syllables, and lots of o’s and double o’s. Albert Vincent 1899

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