Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander place names typically describe literal aspects of the landscape, the frequency of certain flora or fauna in an area, or cultural and spiritual beliefs attached to a particular place. Often, these place names were adopted by Europeans and are still used today, many in some corrupted form, for cities (Canberra), towns (Nowra), mountains (Mount Dandenong) and beaches (Bondi).


Boodjar Nyungar Placenames in the South-West of Western Australia (Freely available eResource)
The South-West of Western Australia covers the general area south of Geraldton and west of Esperance and Nungarin. This website provides the history and meanings of Boodjar Nyungar placenames in the area.

South-East Queensland Placenames
State Library of Queensland produced list of Aboriginal placenames of South-East Queensland. Further sources of information for researchers are also included in the bibliography.

National Library Australian Indigenous Languages Research Guide
This guide, produced by the National Library, is an index to language material held in the Library's manuscripts collection.

Aboriginal place names: naming & renaming the landscape
eBook concerning Aboriginal place names of Australia. Includes select academic papers on placenames.

Browsing the catalogue by subject

To search for works relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, in the catalogue select the 'Browse alphabetically' option, then select 'subjects' from the drop down menu. Type the subject you wish to search for then click 'browse'.

Some examples of Browse/Subjects searches are:

Names, Geographical - Aboriginal Australian

Selected Print Resources

These resources must be requested through the catalogue unless otherwise specified.

Aboriginal Place Names (2000)
Contains thousands of Aboriginal meanings, plus many new entries for places that have recently been given Aboriginal names.
Call number: RF 919.4003 R323 in the Main Reading Room Reference Collection

The Land is a Map: Placenames of Indigenous Origin in Australia (c2002)
Includes conference papers from a range of contributors. Also contains index of place and placenames and index of languages and language groups. 

Ngambri Ancestral Names: For Geographical Places and Features in the Australian Capital Territory and Surrounds (2005)
Includes summary of names already representing or resembling original Aboriginal names in the ACT; summary of confirmed original Aboriginal names of areas and geographical features in the ACT not currently or correctly in use; confirmation of names, thought to be Aboriginal, used for geographical areas or features in the ACT region in the 19th century that were not the original names for those areas; and summary of areas requiring further research.

Dictionary of Aboriginal Placenames of Victoria (2002)
Contains over 3400 placenames from 35 Victorian Aboriginal languages.
Call number: RF 919.45003 C593 in the Main Reading Room Reference Collecion