Thursday, June 16, 2011

Canberra's Centenary: '100 Year of Words'

On 12 March 1913 Canberra was officially named by Lady Denman, the wife of the Governor-General Lord Denamn.

To celebrate the occasion there is to be an anthology of writing by Canberra region writers spanning the 100 years to be published in late 2012 in the lead-up to the centenary celebrations. The editor is Irma Gold and the Publisher: Halstead Press.

Here is a link to '100 Years of Words'  - a Blog set up for the project.

Looking at that first important word ... 'Canberra' ... Ann Jackson-Nakano's book ...

Ngambri Ancestral Names
For Geographical Places and Features in the Australian Capital Territory and Surrounds
ISBN 0 646 45223 1

defines the origins of the name Canberra.

From the dedication ...

The name, Canberra, formerly rendered into Roman script as ‘Canburry' or ‘Canberry' by the earliest non-Aboriginal settlers in Ngambri country, is derived from the name of the Aboriginal ancestral group who once held sway in the region that now incorporates the Australian Capital Territory and surrounding areas.

'Canberra' was a corruption of the earlier anglised version, ' Canberry', of the original Aboriginal name for this territory: Ngambri. This name for the district, 'Canberry', was claimed as such in the Government Gazette, 22 January 1834 (p39) and was officially known as such from that time even though it was eventually changed to 'Canberra', perhaps to make it sound more 'European'.

A mountain of historical evidence overwhelmingly supports the assertion that the ancestral custodial group of this territory at the time the first 'European settlers' arrived in 1820-21 took their name from their traditional country: these were the Ngambi people. The name of the Australian Capital, Canberra, is derived from that of the Ngambi people and their ancestral country. 

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