Blog post from Saturday, 2 May, 2015

Word of the Week: Parramatta

In the lead up to NAIDOC Week 2015, the Indigenous Services Branch of the State Library of NSW will be posting an Indigenous ‘word of the week’ from collection material available on Rediscovering Indigenous Languages Website. This year the NAIDOC Week theme is We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate. It encourages people to find out more about their local community, and the traditional names for places, rivers and mountains in their area. The State Library’s collections hold significant historical materials that record Aboriginal placenames and meanings across Australia.

The first word of the week will be Parramatta. According to the Survey forms and correspondence received by the Royal Anthropological Society of Australasia regarding Aboriginal place names, 1899-1903, 1921-1926, Parramatta means the place where the eels lie down.

We encourage people to provide comments on our Tumblr page if they know more about the words or meanings.

MLMSS 7603 / Box 4 / Folder 3: Box 4 Folder 3: New South Wales place names, 1899-1903


The Fresh-water Fishes of Great Britain, drawn and described by Mrs. T. Edward Bowdich. L.R.404.c.5.

Please comment any other interesting Indigenous facts or history relating to Parramatta

It is important to note that the context that these records were created in are clear; they were written in most cases about Aboriginal languages by non- Aboriginal people. For this reason, the written word may not accurately reflect the ways in which an oral language was spoken and transmitted.

Picture sources: British Library