Wamboin Community Association

The Hills of Wamboin and Bywong

by David McDonald   [05-Aug-18]

One aspect of local history is the hills of Wamboin and Bywong: where they are and the origins of their names. The Wamboin and Bywong localities are not renowned for their hills as they are on a plateau, the Cullerin Uplift, lying between the Queanbeyan Fault to the west and the Lake George Fault to the east (Finlayson 2008). The seven hills that we have, however, are important parts of our landscape. Five of their names reflect the almost 200 years of European exploration and settlement here, and two remind us of the possibly 2,000 generations throughout which Aboriginal people were the custodians of the country that we call Wamboin and Bywong.

For the purposes of this listing, Wamboin and Bywong are taken to be the localities of Wamboin and Bywong, not the parishes with those names. The boundaries of these localities are shown in reddish dashes on the map in the QPRC online mapping system (Select the layers Boundaries | Suburbs, and zoom in).

The hills listed are those gazetted as such in 1971 by the Geographic Names Board of NSW (hereafter GNB) under the Geographic Names Act 1966. The GNB defines a ‘hill’ as ‘A small portion of the earth’s surface elevated above its surroundings, of lower altitude than a mountain. Generally its altitude is less than 300 metres above the surrounding country but this can change in areas of low relief’ (GNB 2017, p. 4). There are no ‘mountains’ in Wamboin or Bywong. The altitudes mentioned below are those provided by the GNB and/or shown on the former LPI’s 1:25,000 topographic maps ‘Sutton’ & ‘Bungendore’, i.e. altitudes based on the Australia Height Datum. They are not GPS altitudes.

Other hills, and a mountain

As noted above, the features listed here are those designated as ‘hills’ by the GNB, and found within the localities of Wamboin and Bywong. Three other hills, and one mountain, are nearby:

  • Amungula Hill and Mount Cohen: in the District of Kowen, ACT, a little south of Wamboin, across the NSW/ACT border
  • Turalla Hill: Bungendore locality
  • Shingle Hill: Gundaroo locality.

What follows are some notes on the hills of Wamboin and Bywong. The Wamboin Community Association will welcome any information that you can provide that will fill any of the gaps or correct anything that is mistaken. Contact the author, David McDonald, ph. 02 6238 3706 or 0416 231 890, email david [at] dnmcdonald.id.au.

References

Finlayson, D. M. (compiler) 2008, A geological guide to Canberra region and Namadgi National Park, Geological Society of Australia (ACT Division), Canberra.

Geographical Names Board of New South Wales (GNB) 2017, Glossary of designation values in the Geographical Names Register, Fact Sheet, the author, Bathurst, NSW.

Click on a name to expand or collapse the available information.

Bywong Hill and Bywong Trig altitude 858 m


NSW Geographical Names Board

‘A hill about 3.5 km ENE of the village of Sutton’. ‘A major trig station situated about 4 km NE of Sutton.’ Located 1.6 km west of the end of Shepherd Road, Bywong. The communications tower there provides mobile phone services from Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone.

Name Origin

An Aboriginal word meaning ‘big hill’ (McCarthy 1952, p. 8, but this source is notoriously fallible). The GNB gives this origin and word meaning, however, and sources them to McCarthy.

Additional information

‘The hill is identified on a map of southeast New South Wales published in 1837, and was included in a dictionary of Australian place names, published in 1848’ (Bywong Community n.d.). The map referred to here is probably Robert Dixon’s (Dixon & Walker 1837).

Brothers William and Richard Guise are believed to be the first European settlers in the area: ‘The date of the Guise brothers first occupation of land in the district remains … uncertain … but it was much earlier than February 1828 when William applied unsuccessfully to lease two thousand acres at Bywong as a cattle station. He was undoubtedly using the land already …’ (Lea-Scarlett 1972, p.5). The Guises’ landholdings in the vicinity of Bywong Hill are shown on Dixon’s maps.

References

Bywong Community, Inc. n.d., Bywong is a pretty cool place…, the author, Bywong.

Dixon, R & Walker, JC 1837, This map of the Colony of New South Wales: exhibiting the situation and extent of the appropriated lands, including the countries, towns, village, reserves &c, J. Cross, London. The second, 1841, edition is available online

Lea-Scarlett, EJ 1972, Gundaroo, Roebuck Society Publication no. 10, Roebuck Society, Canberra.

McCarthy, FD 1952, New South Wales Aboriginal place names and euphonious words, with their meanings, Australian Museum, Sydney. Much of the contents of this source are notoriously wrong, and McCarthy acknowledges as much in his introduction.


Guise Hill altitude 750 m (approx.)


NSW Geographical Names Board

‘A hill about 7 km ENE of Sutton’. Located 1.4 km NW of the Shingle Hill Way/Federal Highway intersection.

Name Origin

Brothers William and Richard Guise are believed to be the first European settler in the area: ‘The date of the Guise brothers first occupation of land in the district remains … uncertain … but it was much earlier than February 1828 when William applied unsuccessfully to lease two thousand acres at Bywong as a cattle station. He was undoubtedly using the land already …’ (Lea-Scarlett 1972, p.5).

‘Notable early European landholders were the brothers William and Richard Guise. (Their father, Richard Guise, had fled from France to England in 1789, enlisted in the New South Wales Corps, arrived in Sydney in 1791, and had three children born in the colony). By 1826, the Guise brothers were running livestock on a property near the Yass River. After their homestead “Bywong”, north of Sutton, had been built in 1829, they occupied it permanently in 1833. The holdings of William Guise expanded rapidly in the 1830s, to include properties covering a significant part of the present localities of Bywong and Sutton. After his death in 1850, many of these properties passed from the control of the Guise family’ (Bywong Community n.d.).

Additional information

Some of the Guise properties are shown on Robert Dixon’s 1837 map of the Nineteen Counties. The 1891 second edition of the parish of Wamboin map (contents compiled in 1881, the first edition appears to be lost) shows two adjacent 640 acre land holdings in William Guise’s name in southern Wamboin. These blocks are named ‘Duntroon’ on the 1926, 5th edition, of the map. The 1906 3rd edition of the parish of Bywong map (apparently the earliest edition extant for Bywong) shows large landholdings in his name in the north-western part of the parish.

The trig station is on the Trigonometrical Reserve number 11,560, notified in the Gazette of 07 June 1890, 10 acres (Cannon 2015, p.325).

References

Bywong Community Inc. n.d., Bywong is a pretty cool place…, the author, Bywong, NSW.

Cannon, G (compiler) & Department of Land and Water Conservation New South Wales (issuing body) 2015, The first title holders of land in the County of Murray, the author, Green Hills, NSW.

Dixon, R & Walker, JC 1837, This map of the Colony of New South Wales: exhibiting the situation and extent of the appropriated lands, including the countries, towns, village, reserves &c, J. Cross, London. The second, 1841, edition is online.

Lea-Scarlett, EJ 1972, Gundaroo, Roebuck Society Publication no.10, Roebuck Society, Canberra.


Millpost Hill and Millpost Trig altitude 890 m


NSW Geographical Names Board

‘A hill about 10 km SE of Sutton and km (sic) WNW of Bungendore’. Trig: ‘A minor trigonometrical station situated about 11 km south east of Sutton’. Located between Denley Drive and Hogan Drive, Wamboin, accessible via the Greenway from either road. On the hill is the UHF radio repeater WAM06, licensed to the Wamboin Rural Fire Brigade.

Name Origin

Not known

Additional information

Note Mill Post Creek, and the property ‘Millpost’ on the creek, in the south-eastern part of the parish of Wamboin, and the old property ‘Millpost’ in the Nanima area (Lea-Scarlett 1972, pp.x, 66).

We are not aware which was named first, Mill Post Creek, Wamboin’s ‘Millpost’ station, or Millpost Hill. That said, ‘Mill Post Ck’ (creek) is shown on the 1881, first edition, of the parish of Wamboin map, and on the 1888, first edition, of the NSW Government’s County of Murray map.

The trig station is shown on the 1881, first edition, of the parish of Wamboin map. It is Trigonometrical Reserve 6,427, notified on 02 June 1888 (10 acres) (Cannon 2015, p. 262). As was usual, the gazettal notice did not include the name of the trig station/hill. Its inclusion on the 1881 map may have occurred between the date of publication of the map and when the second edition was published in 1891, as the parish maps were working documents.

The origin of the name does not seem to be recorded, nor available in oral histories. It is possible that the creek and property are named after an early post mill (see Wikipedia contributors, ‘Post mill’) in the area, but residents are not aware of any reports of one there. It remains unclear what relationship, if any, there was between the names Mill Post Creek/Millpost Station, on the one hand, and Millpost Hill, 8 km to the north-west, on the other.

The streets in the Canberra suburb of Palmerston are themed ‘The Mountains of Australia’. One of the streets there is Millpost Close, named after Wamboin’s Millpost Hill (ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate 2016). Millpost Hill is definitely a hill (100m above the surrounding countryside), though hardly a mountain!

References

ACT Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate 2016, Place names, the author, Canberra.

Cannon, Geoff (compiler) & Department of Land and Water Conservation New South Wales (issuing body) 2015, The first title holders of land in the County of Murray, the author, Green Hills, NSW.

Lea-Scarlett, EJ 1972, Gundaroo, Roebuck Society Publication no.10, Roebuck Society, Canberra.


Poppet Hill and Poppet Trig altitude 918 m


NSW Geographical Names Board

‘A hill on border line of A.C.T. and New South Wales about 8 km W by S of Turalla Hill and 7 km N by W of Burbong.’ Trig: ‘A minor trig. station on boundary line of Capital Territory and New South Wales, about 8½ miles west by south of Bungendore.’ Located in the parish of Amungula, 1.2 km south-east of the end of Poppet Road, Wamboin. A community radio tower is atop the hill; it commenced broadcasting from the site in 2015. Accessible by walking along the NSW/ACT border road which can be reached along good tracks from Cooper Road or Bingley Way, Wamboin, or up a steep ridge (the Queanbeyan Fault) through Kowen Forest (ACT).

Name Origin

A poppet (or poppet-head) is perhaps best known as the headframe of a mining shaft: ‘The frame at the top of a shaft, supporting the pulleys for the ropes used in hoisting’ (OED 2018, ‘poppet-head’). The term is used more broadly in Australia, however, to refer to shafts/timbers that form some type of tower, including the wooden tower that supports the round discs of some trig stations.

Additional information

The 1881, 1st edition, of the parish of Wamboin map shows ‘Poppet Trig Stn', i.e. Poppet Trig Station. Although the trig station was notified in the Gazette on 7 October 1893, trig station number 18762, the hill’s name was not gazetted until 1971. While it is obvious that the hill’s name links to that of the trig station, it is unclear why the trig station was named Poppet in the 19th century. It is possible that a mine shaft, with a poppet above it, existed in that locality, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Reference

Oxford English Dictionary 2018, 'Poppet-head, n.', Oxford University Press


Purrorumba Hill and Purrorumba Trig altitude 888 m


NSW Geographical Names Board

‘A hill in Lake George Range about 11.5 km E by N of Sutton and 1.5 km SW of Silver Wattle Point.’ Trig: ‘A major trigonometrical station on Lake George Range 11 km east by north of Sutton.’ Located 3.6 km north-east of the junction of Brooks Road and Bungendore Road, Bywong, and 1.25 km south-west of Silver Wattle (on Lake Road).

Name Origin

A rendering of the local Aboriginal word ‘Booraroomba’ or ‘Boorooromba’: ‘Another kind of shortening of placenames involves dropping out a single syllable, especially when two adjacent syllables were partially alike. … A similar reduction has taken place with “Booroomba”, a property established by James Wright for his father-in-law, William Davis, in 1842 [near Tharwa, ACT]…, whose Aboriginal source had an extra syllable – “Booraroomba” … or “Boorooromba” ... The same name seems to be behind a place on the western side of Lake George, spelled ‘Purrorumba’ on Thomas Mitchell’s 1834 map of NSW …’ (Koch 2009, pp.125, 170).

‘Booroomba, wallaby jumping over a rock’ (G.B.L 1925, p.1). The same meaning is given in Gillespie 1992, p.253, and he give the alternative spelling ‘Booraroomba’.

‘Similarly, “Booroomba” (reconstructable as *Bururumba or *Burarumba), a property in the ACT west of the Murrumbidgee, is said to mean “wallaby jumping over a rock” ... Perhaps this “meaning” simply refers to the red rock wallabies, which lived (and were shot) in great numbers in this area ... On the other hand it may conceal a word or words referring to this event, even if not does not directly denote “wallaby”, “jump”, or “rock”’ (Koch 2009, p.153).

‘“Boorooroomba” is an Aboriginal word for plovers’ (Australian Capital Territory 2011, p.8).

Additional information

The hill is shown on NSW Surveyor-General Major Thomas Mitchell’s 1834 map of the Nineteen Counties, and on Robert Dixon’s 1837 map of the same area (Mitchell 1834; Dixon 1837). This, combined with its location close to the trigonometrical baseline established at Lake George, strongly suggest that they used it as part of their trigonometrical survey of NSW (Brock 2006).

Purrorumba is also the name of the parish immediately north of the parish of Bywong.

The trig station is on Trigonometrical Reserve 7,277, notified on 29 September 1888 (30 acres) (Cannon 2015, p.325, though the date given there is incorrect).

References

Australian Capital Territory 2011, Heritage (Decision about Registration for Booroomba Station – incorporating Blythburn and Braeside and adjacent ploughlands). Notice 2011, Notifiable Instrument NI 2011 - 738 made under the Heritage Act 2004 section 42 Notice of Decision about Registration, the author, Canberra.

Brock, JF 2006, ‘A tale of two maps – NSW in the 1830s by Mitchell and Dixon: perfection, probity and piracy! Paper No 5’, paper presented to Mapping Sciences Institute Conference on 100 Years of National Topographical Mapping, Darwin.

Cannon, G (compiler) & Department of Land and Water Conservation New South Wales (issuing body) 2015, The first title holders of land in the County of Murray, the author, Green Hills, NSW.

Dixon, R & Walker, JC 1837, This map of the Colony of New South Wales: exhibiting the situation and extent of the appropriated lands, including the countries, towns, village, reserves &c, J. Cross, London, https://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-230011468/view.

G. B. L. 1925, ‘Aboriginal place names and their meaning’, Queanbeyan-Canberra Advocate, 8 January 1925.

Koch, HJ 2009, ‘The methodology of reconstructing Indigenous placenames: Australian Capital Territory and south-eastern New South Wales’, in LA Hercus & HJ Koch (eds), Aboriginal placenames: naming and re-naming the Australian landscape, ANU E Press, Canberra.

Mitchell, TS 1834, To the Right Honorable Edward Geoffrey Smith Stanley this map of the Colony of New South Wales [cartographic material]/compiled from actual measurements with the chain & circumferenter, and according to a trigonometrical survey is (with the greatest respect), dedicated by his most obedient humble servant T.L. Mitchell, Surveyor General; drawn by T.L. Mitchell; engraved by John Carmichael, Sydney; republished in London, http://nla.gov.au/nla.obj-230696897


18-08-2018