Place Names & Meanings:


Tallebudgera
English names or Aboriginal names? There has been something of a tussle between the two schools of thought. Sometimes it is the English name which has stuck, other times it is the Aboriginal. Tallebudgera Creek retains its Aboriginal name, believed to mean a place for good fish, in spite of the attempt by Robert Dixon to have it known as the River Perry. This surveyor had a distinct bias against Aboriginal names so named it after the Deputy Surveyor-General of the time, Samuel Augustus Perry. However from the time of the first permanent white settlers in the area in the 1870s it has been known as Tallebudgera. This name does not seem to have belonged to the local Aboriginal dialect, but to that of a tribe around Sydney, so was probably given to the stream by white timbergetters trying to use Aboriginal words they had learnt in the south. Poor Samuel Perry. He worked for twenty-four years in a very strained relationship under a cantankerous and difficult boss, Sir Thomas Mitchell, until he resigned in ill-health and retired to Kiama where both he and his wife, Caroline, died within a few months of each other, less than a year after his retirement. And he even had his river taken off him! Edmund Harper, English migrant, timer better, selector of land at Gilston, friend of the local Aboriginal people whose language he learnt, built a wharf at the mouth of Little Tallebudgera Creek where Wharf Street, Surfers Paradise is today.

Currumbin
This is the Aboriginal name for a species of pine tree, but it was not the name by which the creek was shown on the maps drawn by surveyor Dixon in 1839. He called it Anson Creek after Admiral George Anson who after serving as private secretary to Lord Melbourne, the Whig Prime Minister of England, became the private secretary to Albert, the husband of the young Queen Victoria. Albert wanted to bring a German retinue with him, but the leaders of the English parliament would not hear of it. Anson was appointed to ensure that an English viewpoint was expressed to the Prince. However Albert and Anson became close friends. As Currumbin Creek, the creek gave its name to the surrounding locality. The Queensland Railways gave the meaning of the name as "High up, or a place where high trees grow."

Elanora
The name is supposed to mean a camp by the sea.

Mudgeeraba
The name is Aboriginal in origin but there is no agreement as to its meaning. According to the Queensland State Railways, it means low-lying ground, but other suggestions refer to infants' excrement, sticky soil or the telling of lies. The township grew up around the hotel in the 1890s. It was on the old Murry Jerry lease issued 1852 to Alfred William Compigne who held other runs in the Albert River area. Compigne, a native of Hampshire, England, had come to Queensland in 1846 at the age of 28.

Nerang
The Aboriginal name for the river was Nerang, meaning little, but Robert Dixon of the Surveyor- General's Department did not like Aboriginal names so he called it the River Barrow after Sir John Barrow who was Secretary of the Admiralty in England for many years. Later the Aboriginal name was resumed and made official. The township grew up because of the coach and river traffic which passed that way. Later the railway came through. The first families came with the Manchester Cotton Company in the early 1860s. It also served as a centre for the sugar farming areas like Helensvale.

Burleigh Heads
Burleigh heads was named by surveyor J. R. Warner in 1840. He originally spelt it Burly Heads. The Aboriginal name for Little Burleigh was Jellurgal and for Big Burleigh, Jabbribillum. Burghley House was the family seat of the famous Cecil family in England. Lord Burleigh was also the Marquis of Exeter, and in his political involvements upheld the long-standing English discrimination against Roman Catholics as well as resisting other reforms.

Coolangatta
The beach resort on the New South Wales border gets its name from a ship, the Coolangatta, which was wrecked there, 18 August, 1846. The ship in its turn got its name from the estate of Alexander Berry on the South Coast of New South Wales. Berry, with his business partner Edward Wollstonecraft, acquired extensive lands on the North Shore of Sydney Harbour and along the Shoalhaven River. When his brothers and sisters migrated to New South Wales they joined him on the southern property which he had named Coolangatta. The name Berry is perpetuated in the district there today by the name of the nearby town.

Kirra
Kirra was Aboriginal for boomerang. The railway station was so named by the Railway Department in 1932.

Tugun
The name was given by the Railway Department using the Aboriginal toon-goon, which referred to the sound of the waves, as its inspiration.

Bilinga
Bilinga on the Gold Coast was named by the Surveyor General, 17 October, 1918. The name is Aboriginal and means the place of bats, or maybe parrots.

Tweed River
The Tweed River from which Tweed Heads gets its name looks back to Scotland for its inspiration. From its British (Celtic) roots we know that it originally meant the strong one and in AD 700 was spelt Tuuide. Tweed Heads forms a twin town with Coolangatta.
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