Posted by: travelrat | July 11, 2021

For Nourlangie read Burrunnggui

In 2012, we visited the Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. Among the many things we saw was a rock, standing proud above the surrounding jungle. That rock is a World Heritage Site, because of the images carved upon it by generations of First Nations people. All the brochures, and signage around the place called it Nourlangie Rock.

Garry, my brother in law visited recently, and he posted on social media a picture of a notice requesting visitors to refer to it by its First Nations name, Burrunnggui.

It would seem that, when Europeans first arrived in the area around 1845, the indigenous people told them the names of various features around the area … which included ‘Nawulandja’. Some say this was the name of a nearby feature; others that it was the name for the general area. Nevertheless, European tongues made it ‘Nourlangie’, and mistakenly assigned it to Burrunggui.

It’s gradually happening all over Australia. Nowadays, Nitmiluk is the accepted name for what was Katherine Gorge, Uluru for Ayers’ Rock and so on. But, some people are still writing about ‘Uluru (formerly Ayers’ Rock)’ which got me to thinking … how long was it before people stopped writing ‘Istanbul (formerly Constantinople)’?

Maybe, as in the case of Mumbai, Yangon and Ho Chi Minh City, it shouldn’t take very long?

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