The Moomba Line


I am blessed with

The Best Parishioners of the Whole Whirl!

Origins of the Name Moomba

The official translation is “let’s get together and have fun.”

In 1981 Barry Blake in his Australian Aboriginal Languages spelled out the etymology in more detail:

Undoubtedly the most unfortunate choice of a proper name from Aboriginal sources was made in Melbourne when the city fathers chose to name the city’s annual festival ‘Moomba‘. The name is supposed to mean ‘Let’s get together and have fun’, though one wonders how anyone could be naive enough to believe that all this can be expressed in two syllables. In fact ‘moom‘ (mum) means ‘buttocks’ or ‘anus’ in various Victorian languages and ‘ba‘ is a suffix that can mean ‘at’, ‘in’ or ‘on’. Presumably someone has tried to render ‘up your bum’ in the vernacular.

let’s play “Car Wash!”

Furthermore, in 1969, Luise Hercus provided the following definition for ‘mum‘ (i.e., ‘moom’) in The Languages of Victoria:

Mum: bottom, rump. The jocular Healesville expression ‘mum ba‘ — ‘bottom and . . .’ — has been given to the authorities in jest with the translation ‘let us get together and have fun’, hence the Melbourne Moomba Festival

To which I can add, from Richard Broome’s Aboriginal Victorians (2005), “The name of this festival was suggested by Bill and Eric Onus in 1953. Lin, Bill’s son, revealed in 1969 that their suggestion was a joke, as Moomba was not an Aboriginal word for ‘let’s get together and have some fun’ as the Onus brothers had claimed, but came from the Aboriginal word moom meaning ‘backside’, with the ‘ba’ added for effect.”p359

I conclude: If you heap grief on a peoples for five or six generations and then ask them stuff, you may not get honest, respectful answers.

Bless you my dear Brother!

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. sirs,

    I am moved by all of this to ask your good self:

    We know that Russell Crow (aka “Our Russell” on those days when he not humilating himself and embarassing the country) is from Australia. Well, OK, he’s not, but bear with me. But what city does he call ‘home?’ Surely, on the strength of the evidence you have provided here, it would have to be Melbourne? Yes, yes, I know i’ve practically answered my own question, and for that i apologise, but i’d be interested in yr thoughts on matters Rusty.

  2. Brother,

    may I remind you he is co-owner of the South Synney Rabbitohs?

    Surely his heart and,
    given the proclivities of rabbits rather than rabbitohs
    (although I personally don’t have a clue about the latter),
    some more of his cells
    luxuriate in Synney?

    Or perhaps,
    as burred seeds adhere to the fur of bird and beast,
    by some bizarre quirk of fate
    they have accumulated!

    This would indeed be a fascinating Project!

    What could we name it?


    Le Rev Dr

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