While both berigora and boodang are Aboriginal words, neither is associated with the Dja Dja Wurrung language of central Victoria.
This sent me off on a voyage of exploration to see what I might find out about the Dja Dja Wurrung name for this enchanting bird. The Scarlet Robin occurs over much of the southern part of the continent, from the south-west of WA, across into SA, throughout Victoria and Tasmania and all the way through the eastern half of NSW to south-east Queensland. It follows therefore that it would have been known by many unique names according to the particular aboriginal language for that part of country in which the bird is found.
My research took me on a circuitous route with a snapshot of my findings below.
- karlimoot – Noongar (south western WA)
- tat-karna – Buanditj (south-eastern SA)
- tjimp-kirk – Djab Wurrung (central Victoria from Gariwerd to the Pyrenees) from Blake (2011) referring to the White-spotted Robin … the Scarlet Robin has a distinctive white forehead spot.
Djab Warrung country is bordered by Dja Dja Wurrung country to the east and this last name, tjimp-kirk, may have been shared between the two groups.
Tully (1997) lists the name tee-ung for the Scarlet Robin, noting that it is not a Dja Dja Wurrung word but from an analogous language. Blake (2011) lists the name pilp nguniat for the robin in Djapwurrung (Djab Wurrung) language but this may refer to other red-breasted robins such as the Flame Robin.
The Scarlet Robin is such a distinctive and confiding bird and was clearly well known to the first Australians wherever it occurred.
I have just scratched a fascinating surface and will be very happy to learn more.
- Blake, Barry J. , 2011, Dialects of Western Kulin, Western Victoria Yartwatjali, Tjapwurrung, Djadjawurrung, LaTrobe University Bundoora
- John Tully, 1997, Dja Dja Wurrung language of central Victoria
- Glenelg-Hopkins CMA, (undated), Woodland birds – Identification booklet for the Glenelg Hopkins area.
- Condon, HT 1955, ‘Aboriginal bird names – South Australia, pt 1 & 2.’, South Australian Ornithologist, vol. 21, no. 6/7, pp. 74–88; 91–98.
This post recognises and celebrates NAIDOC Week 2021.