Place names and Conflict over renaming of features


Submitted by Jude Ella, Ling 366

 The name for Mt Wollumbin was discontinued on 10th June 2005. It was previously known as Mt Ivy or Mt Dum Dum. Below are several links to the ongoing debate about aboriginal history of the Tweed Region and conflicts about the naming of this particular feature.

I have lived in Murwillumbah in northern NSW for the past 20 years, an area in the Bundjalung tribal region. I’ve placed this on the blog because it is relevant to my submission topic on place names.

James McKenzie has strong views on the history of the area, and declares historians, government organisations, linguists and others, have got it wrong. He is determined to one day  have it re-defined.  Coming from a pioneering family in the 1800’s, he is annoyed with the NSW Geographical Names Board who he claims took the name Wollumbin from a mountain on his land without consultation.

I have included a few links including his comments and responses from readers. I hope the u-tube links work .

Before launching into the information above, a couple of days ago I came across this article below in the Kingborough Chronicle in Tasmania, where I am staying for the semester.

Kingborough Chronicle, Issue No. 121, 28th March 2012, (Taken from John Tait’s book TASPLACES – 16,000 Tasmanian placenames), <>

Did you know?

ALONNAH: Originally named Mills Reef, but renamed in 1909 to preserve half the aboriginal name for Bruny Island, ‘Lunawanna- Alonnah’. It is now the island’s administrative centre.

LUNAWANNA: Renamed from ‘Daniel’s Bay’ in 1907 to preserve the other half of the aboriginal name for Bruny Island.

Dispute to Tweed Shire Council re: Naming of Wollumbin

Tweed Shire Echo, By James McKenzie, 11 June 2009

The delicate business of Aboriginal history,  The Tweed Shire Echo , December 3, 2009, By Ian Fox

Response to James McKenzie Article on 19 Nov 2009

False history, The Tweed Shire Echo, November 19, 2009, By James McKenzie

Arakwal, bundjalung ‘don’t exist’, The Northern Star, 14th May 2010, by Digby Hildreth (interview with James McKenzie)

 ‘The bloke ought to keep his mouth closed and let people think he’s a racist idiot, rather than provide the proof ‘, Sources: The Northern Star and The Daily Examiner, 22 May 2010, By Patrical Laurie, Councillor for North Coast Region of NSW Aboriginal Land Council.   Response to James McKenzie’s Article in the Northern Star, 14th May, 2010

Board nicks name, The Sun, 16th November, 2006. James McKenzie

A Sixth-generation Tweed man says bureaucrats have made a big mistake in deciding to add Wollumbin to the name of Mt Warning……….James McKenzie is annoyed the NSW Geographical Names Board took the name Wollumbin away from a mountain on his land without consulting him.

U Tube Videos  and Articles written by James McKenzie and Elder Harry Boyd maintaining the true name of Mt Warning and suppressed information by authorities

Wollumbin is not the Aboriginal name for Mt Warning. Contemporary history books are wrong. Subsequently, incompetent researchers did not bother to consult Elders, Maps or the Pioneers from the mountains when they wrote their books. The NSW National Parks & Wildlife Service appears to have suppressed their own  studies of the language-speaking Elders, written fictitious transcripts, and falsified State Records in renaming Mount Warning wrongly.  Mount Warning and Wollumbin are not the same.


“Wollumbin” The Keeper of Lore, Elder Millie Boyd NSW National Parks 1977

NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service |

Ngaraakwal / Githabul Elder Harry Boyd, Custodian of Culture

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