Australian places include ones with names where a word is repeated to make the name. These names are nearly always derived from indigenous Australian languages.[1]

These names are examples of reduplication, a common theme in Australian toponymy, especially in names derived from Indigenous Australian languages such as Wiradjuri. Reduplication is often used as an intensifier such as "Wagga Wagga" many crows and "Tilba Tilba" many waters.

The phenomenon has been the subject of interest in popular culture, including the song by Australian folk singer Greg Champion, Don't Call Wagga Wagga Wagga.[2] British comedian Spike Milligan, an erstwhile resident of Woy Woy, once wrote "Woy it is called Woy Woy Oi will never know".[3]

NameStatePlace name meaning (where known)
Ban Ban Springs QueenslandBan means "grass" in the local Kabi dialect.[4]
Baw Baw National Park Victoria Baw Baw is an Aboriginal word meaning "echo".[5]
Beggan Beggan New South Wales
Bli Bli QueenslandNamed after "billai billai", Aboriginal for swamp oak.[6]
Boonoo Boonoo National Park New South WalesThe place name means "poor country with no animals to provide food" and is Aboriginal in origin.[7]
Bong Bong New South WalesThe place name is Aboriginal for "blind or a watercourse lost in a swamp" or "many watercourses; many frogs".[8]
Bongil Bongil New South Wales The name Bongil Bongil is the name of a sub-group of the Gumbaingerie tribe which occupied the general area bounded by the Clarence River in the north, the Nambucca River in the south, Dorrigo in the west and the Pacific Ocean.[9]
Bungle Bungle Range Western AustraliaA corruption of "bundle bundle", a grass common to the Kimberley region.[10]
Curl Curl New South Wales Name may be derived from Aboriginal phrase "curial curial" meaning river of life.[11]
Mount Dom Dom Victoria
Doon Doon New South Wales
Drik Drik Victoria An Aboriginal word for "Stoney Stoney" [12]
Gin Gin Queensland The name was derived from the original station name, which used a local Aboriginal word indicating "red soil thick scrub".[13]
Gin Gin New South Wales
Gingin Western Australia Name may be derived from local Aboriginal word for "place of many streams"
Gol Gol New South Wales
Goonoo Goonoo New South Wales "Plenty of water".[14]
Greg Greg New South Wales
Grong Grong New South Wales "Very hot".[15]
Gumly Gumly New South Wales
Jellat Jellat New South Wales
Kin Kin Queensland
Kurri Kurri New South Wales
Lang Lang VictoriaLang Lang was formerly known as Carrington, after Lord Carrington. The Aboriginal name "Lang Lang" means "Clump of Trees".[16]
Mitta Mitta Victoria
Mona Mona Mission Queensland (Aboriginal community in far north Qld)
Mooney Mooney New South Wales
Terrick Terrick National Park Victoria
Terry Hie Hie New South Wales
Tilba Tilba New South Wales Said to be a Thawa Aboriginal term for 'many waters'.[17]
Wagga Wagga New South Wales 'Wagga wagga' is probably a Wiradhuri term for 'many crows'. It should be noted that 'waggan', for one type of crow and 'waggura', for another have been recorded; also: reeling (a sick man or a dizzy man); to dance, slide or grind.[18]
Walla Walla New South Wales
Wallan Wallan Victoria
Wangi Wangi New South Wales
Woy Woy New South Wales Said to be an Awabakal Aboriginal term for 'deep water' or 'lagoon' [19]
Wujal Wujal Queensland (Aboriginal community in far north Qld)
Yeo Yeo New South Wales

See alsoEdit


  1. "The White Hat Guide to Australian Place Names". Retrieved 2008-05-13. 
  2. Champion, Greg; Haynes, Jim. "Don't Call Wagga Wagga Wagga". Warner/Chappel Music Australia. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  3. Fickling, David (2003-10-04). "Town lampooned by Spike Milligan bends over backwards to laud him". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  4. "Place name details: Ban Ban Springs". Queensland Government. 2008-03-04. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  5. "History". 1966. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  6. "Bli Bli - origin of name". Sunshine Coast Regional Council. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  7. NSW Geographical Names Board citing (Reed 1967)
  8. NSW Geographical Names Board citing (RAHS Journal Vol.1; Prt.8) and (McCarthy; 1963)
  9. NSW Geographical Names Board citing ( R Dacker, Aboriginal Land Council, Coffs Harbour)
  10. Riviera, Larry. "The BUngle Bungles". Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  11. "Curl Curl". NSW Geographical Names Board. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  12. Brown, J. K. (1968). "Early History of Drik Drik". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  13. "Place Name Details" (PHP). Natural Resourses and Water (Queensland). 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  14. "Wallabadah - Places to See". Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  15. "Grong Grong". Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 2009-05-19. 
  16. Brief History of Lang Lang
  17. NSW Geographical Names Board citing (not verified) (Appleton; 1992)and (McCarthy; 1963)
  18. NSW Geographical Names Board citing (not verified) (Appleton; 1992)and (McCarthy; 1963)
  19. NSW Geographical Names Board citing (not verified) (Appleton; 1992)and (McCarthy; 1963)

Further readingEdit

  • Kennedy, Brian, & Kennedy, Barbara. & Australian Broadcasting Corporation. (2006) Australian place names ABC Books for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Sydney, N.S.W. ISBN 073331760X
  • Reed, A. W. (1967) Aboriginal place names Sydney ; Wellington : A.H. & A.W. Reed. ISBN 0730101274 (pbk)
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