Tongues? No, the Riverina

Narrandera Wangarata Cootamundra Tumut Wangarella Booboorban Kyabram Cooma Walwa. Jindabyne Tumbarumba Cudgewa Urana Mangopla Collingullie Gumly Gumly Tarcutta


No. These are the names of some of the places in the Riverina, New South Wales, Australia. I ‘met them’ during my recent trip to Wagga Wagga, and  found the names  fascinating, if a little difficult to pronounce. (I practiced saying them.) There are some others that I didn’t figure out how to pronounce, and the spellchecker in Word seems to have had a ‘hissy fit’, underlining so many of those names in red.)

Map showing Riverina

Three hours ahead of Perth time, Wagga Wagga was an interesting interlude in my journey into the second year without my husband. If you have lost a significant person, you will know what I mean, if not, well, you might think, ‘time to get on with it’. I do. Every day. But there are so many things I would have enjoyed discussing/ sharing with him.

Road sign, Hume hwy


However, focussing on the area called the Riverina district, the signposts, and places we visited fascinated me.


My favourite name was Tumbarumba. Possibly because it rolls of the tongue of a Scots person really well.

Tumbarumba was part of the Wiradjuri country before European settlement. It is from Wiradjuri language that the word ‘tumbarumba’, probably meaning ‘sounding ground’, is derived. It has been suggested that there are places in the district where if you hit the ground it has a hollow sound.

Tumbarumba, map

The other thing about my trip, for an ex-pat Scot, I loved those hills! The Great Dividing Range. It is marked on maps, but the length of it is awesome! I looked it up and read that it extends along the entire east coast of Australia. I know it starts north of Melbourne, I was taken on a trip up Mt Baw Baw. Yes, there are ‘odd’ names in Victoria too. Mt Baw Baw is one of the mountains in the Great Dividing Range.


Road on Mt Baw BawThe road twists and turns up the mountain, and many times I thought it was a scene from a movie. The other end of the Great Dividing Range is in Queensland, I didn’t go that far north.


If you ever saw the movie, “The Man from Snowy River’, the mountains in the movie are also part of this extensive range of mountains.

Although it was a very long time ago when my family moved to Australia, I was born and brought up in a town in the border of Scotland located in a peaceful valley, surrounded by hills.

When my husband and I visited Peebles a few years back, he was awed. We came round a bend in the road, and there was my home town. He said it was like Brigadoon. (Another, even older movie.) I assured him that my home town was there all the time, not just once in a hundred years.

So, there you are. My trip to the Eastern States of Australia, and brief journey down memory lane, among the hills.

Just reminiscing


Oh… and on the subject of tongues, as in ‘speaking in tongues’, this was one of many comments I read on the subject…

“All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as The Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?  Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome, both Jews and converts to Judaism; Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:4-11)

The ability to speak in tongues, other languages, was a gift that God gave to some so that the Gospel could be preached to those nations. The “tongues” were actual languages



4 thoughts on “Tongues? No, the Riverina

    • susanprestonbooks

      You could well be correct. It was part of the Australia gold rush. I took it from the Aboriginal meaning… “The name Tumbarumba may be derived from Wiradjuri dhamba dhamba, meaning “very soft” [4] or alternatively from the Aboriginal words for “hollow sounding ground”, “thunder”, “sound” or “place of big trees”
      I do not recall it in ‘The Two Towers’ but that doesn’t mean anything LOL ”
      Whichever it is, it ‘rolls off the tongue’ of a Scots person. Even one who has lived in Australia since 1975. 🙂

  1. theshepherdshaven

    Hi Susan, I plan to spend more time tomorrow reading more of your blogs, (this one is great), but I wanted to let you know that my paternal grandmother was a Johnstone, and the Johnstones were a clan in and around Tillicoultry and Clackmannanshire, Scotland. Apparently some distant relatives that stayed are still there.

    • susanprestonbooks

      It always amazes me how many Scots have colonised the world. Some, from the Highland clearances, others for many and varied reasons. (I married an Aussie.) I was born and bred on the opposite side, basically, of Scotland. Not far by Aussie or US distances, but a long way in Scots eyes. When I was young the 1 hour bus trip to Edinburgh meant a day trip. LOL How things have changed.
      Some info on the clan Johstone…
      The Clan Johnstone were once one of the most powerful of the Border Reiver Scottish clans.
      They originally settled in Annandale and for over six hundred years they held extensive possessions in the west of the Scottish Marches, where they kept watch against the English.
      The first of the clan to be recorded was John Johnstone, whose son, Gilbert, is found in records after 1194. Sir John Johnstone was a knight of the county of Dumfries. He is found on the Ragman Rolls of 1296, swearing fealty to Edward I of England. In 1381 his great-grandson son was appointed Warden of the Western Marches.

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