Waranga News

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Ngurai-Illum Wurrung Country place names


There are at least 40 names on or near Ngurai-illum Wurrung country that appear to be of Aboriginal origin. Some of those names would have been derived from the Ngurai-illum Wurrung language. It would be good if we could identify which ones were, because it could give us a little insight into a language that all but disappeared within a short time of the arrival of European colonisers.

Aboriginal place names


Aboriginal place names Ngurai-illum Wurrung country has a large number of Aboriginal place names, possibly a greater percentage than the Victorian average of 27% of all names listed in the Australian Gazetteer. The first thing to note is that some of these names may not even be from the Ngurai-illum Wurrung language. They may have been adapted from other places where the European colonisers had been, then applied to the local area.

Cooking methods


The last story speculated about how the local Ngurai-illum Wurrung people heated water to make up a decoction of wattle bark, which was used for various medicinal purposes. That begs the question about which methods were used for cooking food.

Decoction of wattle bark


Recent stories have talked about the use of wattle bark in a range of Aboriginal medicines. Given that the efficacy of wattle bark products features so often in historical sources, it is surprising that Western medicine has not explored the possibilities in more depth. However, over the past 25 years, there does seem to have been a revival of interest in exploring traditional medicines.

More traditional medicines


It seems that there are plenty of healing qualities in wattle bark and gum, which Western medicine has largely ignored. The last story mentioned a couple of uses for a decoction of wattle bark (i.e. where the bark is boiled down) although the source1 did not mention which specific type of wattle was used. There are many species of wattle in the box ironbark forests around Rushworth that may have been used by the Ngurai-illum Wurrung people.