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Placenames

Compiled by the Local Studies Librarian, Gosford City Library

This list of placename meanings was compiled from many sources. The accuracy of many of the meanings is very difficult to vouch for, particularly in the case of aboriginal words. Every effort has been taken to provide a range of possible meanings where available.

Avoca: Celtic for "Great Estuary", or "Where the River meets the sea". The area was named "Avoca" by John Moore, who took up a 640 acre (259 hectares) grant there in 1830. Avoca in Wicklow, Ireland was the setting for the popular TV drama "Ballykissangel".

Bensville: named after Benjamin Davis, a shipbuilder who was born in Roscommon, Ireland in 1826, and died at Balmain, N.S.W. in 1883. Ben Davis is buried at St. Paul's Cemetery, Kincumber.

Blackwall: Rock Davis, shipbuilder, is credited with naming this area after the famous shipbuilding district on the River Thames in England.

Brisbane Water: named after Sir Thomas MacDougall Brisbane, Governor of N.S.W. between 1821 and 1825. The naming of Brisbane Water was contemporary with, but not necessarily connected to, the arrival of James Webb, the district's first white settler at The Rip in 1823.

Bombi: aboriginal, meaning "water swirling around the rocks".

Booker Bay: named after William Booker, an early settler of the area who died in 1850. His wife Elizabeth, who died in 1868, was later buried with William on their farm, in the vicinity of Bogan Road.

Bouddi: aboriginal, meaning "The heart".

Calga: aboriginal, meaning "The mouth".

Daley's Point: named after Parliamentarian William Michael Daley, M.L.A.

Davistown: Davistown was named for the concentration of Davis family members living in this part of Cockle Creek. In 1851 the shipwright Benjamin Davis purchased the former James Marks property Burramun. Ben (for whom Bensville was later named) subsequently sold portions of his land to his shipwright brothers Thomas, Rock and Edward. The area came to be populated with the Davis's and their families, hence the joking name Davistown. Between 1869 and 1879, Ben Davis built an estimated 34 vessels at Davistown, and a further 15 at Bensville. Rock Davis built 8 vessels here between 1854 and 1862, and later moved to Blackwall (near Woy Woy), where he built at least 160 vessels between 1863 and 1904.

Erina: meaning uncertain, but believed to be a corruption of the aboriginal word "Yerin", meaning an object of fear, but applied to a place of initiation. Another possible origin is that Erina was named for "Erinagh" County Clare, Ireland.

Ettalong: aboriginal for "place for drinking".

Forrester's Beach: named for Robert Forrester, who purchased 50 acres of land there in 1861.

Glenworth Valley: Glenworth Valley was originally known as Glentworth Valley, and was named after William Perry, who became Lord Glentworth in 1844. In 1825, Stephen MacDonald was granted property in the area. He was a friend of Perry, the man who later became a Lord.

Gosford: believed to have been named after the Archibald Acheson, 2nd Earl of Gosford (1776-1849), with whom N.S.W. Governor Gipps served in Canada. Archibald Acheson was appointed Governor of British North America in 1835, and conducted a royal commission into the state of affairs in Lower Canada.

Green Point: name origin unknown. Believed named by Henry Smyth, who bought land there in 1839.

Hardy's Bay: named after Harry Hardy, who kept a small vineyard and sold wine to local residents. In the 1891 Census a Robert Hardy was listed as living at "Brisbane Water Bar".

Holgate: named after Holgate near York, England.

Kariong: aboriginal meaning "a meeting place".

Katandra: aboriginal meaning "song of birds".

Killcare: "Killcare estate" was the name given to a 1916 subdivision at Hardy's Bay. The name "Killcare" is a pun!as in "Kill care at Killcare".

Kincumber: aboriginal in origin, which could have one of three meanings. The most popular choice is "Towards the rising sun". Other possible meanings include "To tomorrow", or "Old man".

Koolewong: aboriginal, believed to mean "Koalas there".

Kourong Gourong: aboriginal, believed to mean a "fast running sea".

Kulnura: aboriginal, believed to mean "up in the clouds".

Kurrawyba: aboriginal name for The Skillion, Terrigal. Means "big rock in the sea".

Lisarow: named after Lisaroe estate in Ireland, by Mrs Robert Cox (nee' Gee) who once lived there.

MacMaster's Beach: Alan MacMaster owned 600 acres originally granted to John Tooth on the northern side of Cockrone Lake.

Mangrove Creek: Mangrove Creek is a descriptive name, first mentioned in 1829 by Surveyor Govett. The name is believed to have been in use much earlier. In the early colony, mangroves were burnt for ash to be used in soap manufacture.

Mangrove Mountain: Mangrove Mountain was a name which arose in 1830s when the first roads were built between Mangrove Creek and the Brisbane Water area. Mangrove Mountain was used to differentiate between Mangrove Creek and the higher plateau (the mountain) above the creek.

Matcham: Charles Horatio Nelson Matcham, a gentleman, was granted 2,560 acres and was authorised to take possession in 1831.

Mooney Mooney: aboriginal origin, meaning unknown.

Murphy's Bay: named after Andrew Murphy, who, among many accomplishments, pioneered native seed exports, was involved in the early lime-burning trade, and kept holiday cottages.

Narara: Meaning uncertain: Possibly aboriginal word for "Black Snake" or "Rib" or "Bones".

Niagara Park: Estate named after the homestead of early property developer, Frank L. Measures.

Ourimbah: aboriginal word for "the sacred circle on the initiation site for investing the "Oorin" or belt of manhood.

Patonga: sometimes written on early maps as "Betonga", means "oyster" in aboriginal.

Pearl Beach: In 1928, Clive Staples subdivided this area, and sold land as the "Pearl Beach Estate". The subdivision's theme was based around precious stones.

Peats Ridge: named after George Peat, who pioneered a track from the Lower Hawkesbury to the North.

Peek's Point: named for Samuel Peek, who established the private township of East Gosford.

Pickett's Valley: named after William Sampson Pickett, 1804-1877.

Point Clare: possibly named by Peter Fagan for his native place, County Clare in Ireland.

Point Frederick: named after Frederick Augustus Hely, Chief Superintendent of Convicts for N.S.W. and Wyoming settler, 1794-1836.

President's Hill: named after Manassah Ward, first President of Erina Shire Council.

Pretty Beach: descriptive name first appearing on a land subdivision map from 1910.

The Ridgeway: believed to have been named after Britain's oldest road, which ran from Overton hill in the North Wessex downs, through The Chilterns to Ivinghoe Beacon. The local Ridgeway shares the attraction of fine views with its' English counterpart.

Riley's Island: named after John Riley who settled on what was originally called "Shell Island" in the 1830s.

Rumbalara: aboriginal, meaning "rainbow".

Saratoga: name chosen over "Marlepool", "Grimston", "Horaceville" and others for the Postal Receiving Office, which opened on 16th October 1910. "Saratoga" was suggested by Mrs. Hawkesworth. She had visited America and was impressed by "Saratoga Springs" in New York State.

Somersby: named by orchardist Charles Robinson, whose family originated in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England.

Spencer: Spencer is a township presumed to be named for the Parish in which it is situated. Originally this area was known as Fernleigh. The true name origin of Spencer is unclear, but it is believed to be named after George John Spencer, second Earl Spencer (1758-1834), who was first Lord of the admiralty in 1794, and who held this position until 1810. He was a mentor of Lord Nelson, and oversaw many of the Royal Navy's victories over the French.

Spion Kop: named after a famous Boer War battle site in Northern Natal Province. The hill at Woy Woy bears a close resemblance to its' South African counterpart when viewed from a distance.

Springfield: possibly a descriptive name, Springfield may derive from several freshwater springs reported to be found on orchards in the area. Peter Drinkwater Berry sold fruit trees from his orchard named Springfield in the 1910s. Several subdivisions took place in the area around 1917-1918 using the name Springfield.

St. Hubert's Island: St. Hubert was a worldy man who enjoyed hunting. It is said that a stag he was hunting turned and warned him of impending doom if he did not lead a holy and chaste life. He turned to God, and became the patron saint of hunters. Father Cornelius Coughlan, a Roman Catholic priest was given a grant of 154 acres, which he named St. Hubert's Island. It is possible that the profusion of bird and fish life around the island reminded Father Coughlan of St. Hubert.

Tascott: derived from the name of local settler and sugar industry pioneer, Thomas Allison Scott, who died in 1881.

Terrigal: meaning uncertain. Possibly "a place of, or where one can find wild figs" (if based on the aboriginal word "Tarriga"), or "a place of little birds" (if based on the aboriginal word "Tarragal"). Many different spellings of Terrigal appear on maps over the years.

Umina: aboriginal for "place of sleep".

Wamberal: aboriginal for "where the sea breaks".

Woy Woy: aboriginal for "much water" or "big lagoon".

Wyoming: alleged to mean "wide, grassy plain" in the Delaware Indian language of North America. "Gertrude of Wyoming" was an epic poem written in 1809 by Thomas Campbell. Campbell's popular work may have influenced the Hely family to name their grant "Wyoming". The local suburb and the North American State share the same name origin. The use of the term "Wyoming" locally pre-dates the American State by many years.

Yattalunga: name believed to have been given by Mrs Gale to the former "Broadwater Estate'. "Yattalunga" is aboriginal for "watering place".

Sources and further reading:

Bennett, F.C.
The story of the aboriginal people of the Central Coast of New South Wales.
Wyong., B.W.H.S./T.E.H.S., 1968.

Dundon, Gwen
Shipbuilders of Brisbane Water: New South Wales.
East Gosford., The author, 1997.

Parkinson, Liz
Terrigal: a history of the area
Terrigal., Lazy Lizard, 2003

Pratt, Eileen
Place names of the Central Coast: origins and meanings.
Gosford., B.W.H.S., 1978.

Various area history files held in Gosford City Library Local Studies Collection.