palawa kani names for two waterfalls

palawa kani names for two waterfalls

Two waterfalls in Tasmania which don’t have official names can be given palawa kani names.

One is on the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington, Hobart.

turikina    truwala

said as

(tu ree kee nah)    (tru wah lah).

which means:

  Mountain     Waterfall

(literally –  ‘waterfall mountain’ as the palawa kani word order is the reverse of English).






press play to hear pronunciation:



The second is in Punchbowl Reserve, Launceston.

luyni mungalina

said as

(loy nee ) (mu ngah lee nah).

which means:

  Raining Rock [Waterfall]

because the falls only run after heavy rain. (literally – ‘rock raining’ – as the palawa kani word order is the reverse of English).






press play to hear pronunciation:


Only the palawa  kani name would be used for each waterfall; these are not dual names like kunanyi/Mt Wellington, with the English name attached.


The waterfalls can be given palawa kani names under the Tasmanian Government’s Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy 2012

This official naming of the waterfalls is possible under the Tasmanian Government’s Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy 2012.  Principle 2.1 states “That preference is given to Aboriginal place names for any geographic feature or place that does not already have an existing official name.”

The Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy was adopted by the state government in 2012 after many years of lobbying by Aborigines.  Tasmania was the last state to adopt any dual naming policy or practice and still remains far behind all other states and territories, with the lowest percentage of gazetted Aboriginal names.  In 2011, this was 3.9% in Tasmania, while percentages in the other states ranged from 23.9% (ACT)  to 33.1% (SA) [June 2011 PlaceNames Australia,  newsletter of the Australian National PlaceNames Survey].   The gazetting of 6 names in 2014 and another 7 in 2016 has done little to improve this percentage. These names can be seen and heard on the TAC’s website HERE. International and interstate visitors continue to comment on the scarcity of Aboriginal names on signage in Tasmania.

The Policy affirms that  “The Tasmanian Government acknowledges that places in Tasmania were named by Aborigines long before the arrival of Europeans. The Tasmanian Government acknowledges prior Aboriginal ownership and is committed to preserving Aboriginal heritage and language by ensuring that Aboriginal place names can be restored to Tasmanian geographic features and places.”   The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre is named in the Policy as the recognised representative Aboriginal language organisation, which will advise on names (Point 2.8).


The names of the waterfalls

No Aboriginal names for these two waterfalls are still known to us today.

The Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy deals with this situation in: ‘That where a traditional place name is not known as a consequence of the disruption of Aboriginal occupation and language, the use of another Aboriginal name as a place name is also acceptable where the meaning of the word is appropriate for its intended use.’ (Principle  2.4)

Since October 2016 we have consulted with the Aboriginal community on possible names for the waterfalls.  Over 120 Aboriginal people – in Burnie, Launceston, Hobart and Cape Barren Island –  discussed names at playgroups, regional branch meetings, community lunches, gatherings of elders. Individuals and family and community groups visited both waterfalls.  Three possible names for each waterfall were voted on for five months. The votes were tallied at the end of February 2017, and turikina truwala and luyni mungalina were the clear choices.


What next?  – Please show your support.

We will submit these names to the Nomenclature (Naming) Board to consider in their June 2017 meeting.

We’ve written to the Launceston City Council which manages the Punchbowl Reserve and to the Hobart City Council, Wellington Park Trust and the South Hobart Progress Association to tell them of our intentions and ask for their support.

Equally important is your support for these names.  Public feedback and support plays a large part in the decision making of the Nomenclature Board. We invite you to make your comments on our Facebook page or in writing. After the names have been gazetted by the Board, there will be a month open for public comment, and we hope you will comment then too.

Letters written to Tasmanian newspapers also make valuable contributions to encouraging public discussion about dual naming.


The waterfalls

On the foothills of kunanyi/Mt Wellington:     

turikina    truwala

(Mountain Waterfall)

This waterfall is one of several waterfalls on the mountain. It is located on the Myrtle Gully Track where it crosses Guy Fawkes Rivulet.   It has 2 tiers of falling water – the lower one falls for about 1 metre; and the higher one falls for about 6 metres.  The water falls into a small gully about 8 metres across in which grow dogwood, myrtle and eucalyptus trees and tree ferns, with ground covers of moss, fern and typical wet scrub.

It’s a 15 minute walk from the car park to the waterfall along a well maintained and well-worn track. The track slopes slightly as it follows the gully up, with stepped stone in most of the steep sections. The track passes well beyond the waterfall, going above it and further up the gully for some distance.  The falls can also be viewed from a bridge slightly downstream and about 5-6 metres below the falls. The bridge is positioned across the stream and used as a viewing platform.

The Naming Policy requires the Nomenclature Board to refer any name proposals they receive for unnamed features to the TAC ( Section 4.8).  In 2016 they received one to name this waterfall “Oakes Falls” because of the long connection of the Oakes family to this area; Courtland Oakes was the appointed ranger for the Cascades estate in 1916.  We told the Board we would propose an Aboriginal name instead.


GDA94; MGA55; 521530E; 5250771N


Occasional waterfall on Kings Meadows Rivulet, in Punchbowl Reserve, Launceston      

luyni mungalina

Raining Rock [Waterfall]


The name refers  to the fact that the falls only run after heavy rain.

These falls only flow in wet weather through a fissure in a dolerite outcrop of rock; it is fed by water from the Kings Meadows Rivulet.  The fall height is roughly 3.5 metres.  It often dries up in drier months and is best viewed after rainfall; these photos were taken after the big rains in May 2016.

The falls are not signed on any of the tracks, but as you walk from the main Punchbowl Reserve carpark towards the overflow carpark, a sign directs you to a ‘Natural Rock Fissure’. This is a 5 minute walk on a sealed surface track. It’s a loop track that crosses the rivulet with a foot-bridge that is also a viewing platform for the Stunning Rock Fissure, through which the Falls flow.

The falls are also accessible from above via a gravel track off Morshead Street, Punchbowl.

They are locally known as ‘Punchbowl Falls’.  In November 2015 the Naming Board asked if we were happy with this name becoming official as they were expecting a proposal for that; we replied that in accordance with the Policy, we asserted our intention to propose an Aboriginal name.  As far as we know, that proposal to officially name them ‘Punchbowl Falls’ has not yet been made.

Photo 1. Falls from the footbridge


Photo 2. Main fall up close

Photo 3. Children from a TAC Youth Group visit the falls after last winter’s heavy rains.

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