[RNLD] Karama

Doug Marmion douglas.marmion at anu.edu.au
Tue Nov 20 23:57:16 EST 2018

At https://placenames.nt.gov.au/origins/greater-darwin#k I see ‘Karama’ listed with the following text:

Karama (Suburb)

One of the new Northern Suburbs built in the 1979/80 period. In 1964, Douglas Lockwood recommended that a number of tribal names be used for neighbourhood units or suburbs of Darwin. Karama and Garawa were listed, but Karama was preferred although Welfare authorities felt that Garawa was more correct. Karama is pronounced with the emphasis on the first syllable.

So that suggests it could be some kind of misreading or variant form of ‘Garawa’? I had assumed ‘Douglas 1964’ referred to one of his two books of that year, but maybe it’s some other document, perhaps handwritten?


On 21 Nov 2018, at 9:40 am, John Mansfield <jbmansfield at gmail.com<mailto:jbmansfield at gmail.com>> wrote:

One reason to prefer the Karama = Murrinhpatha interpretation is that all the other Darwin suburbs seem to be named after NT groups.

I'm not sure who chose these names and when, but the name "Garama" seems to have had quite some currency among outsiders referring to the Murrinhpatha in the mid-20th century - e.g. it is used by both Capell and Hale in their fieldnotes.

On the other hand, we might then have expected the suburb to be spelt with a G-, rather than a K-...

On Wed, 21 Nov 2018 at 09:23, David Osgarby <david.osgarby at uqconnect.edu.au<mailto:david.osgarby at uqconnect.edu.au>> wrote:
Hi Margaret,

Here's a possible lead on "Karama". Brown (1912, 144) records "Karama"
as a western group of the Yindjibarndi people: "The more easterly part
of the Injibandi tribe call themselves Kârama or Korama and are so
spoken of by the Binigura who adjoin them." Tindale (1940, 204) later
references Brown on this: "Loc.: Valley of Fortescue River east of
Millstream. This is also regarded as a westerly (not easterly)
subtribe of the Indjibandi."

Brown, A. R. 1912. ‘The Distribution of Native Tribes in Part of
Western Australia’. Man 12: 143–46. https://doi.org/10.2307/2788273.
Tindale, Norman B. 1940. ‘Results of the Harvard-Adelaide Universities
Anthropological Expedition, 1938-1939: Distribution of Australian
Aboriginal Tribes: A Field Survey’. Transactions of the Royal Society
of South Australia 64 (1): 231.

On Tue, Nov 20, 2018 at 2:26 PM Margaret Carew
<margaret.carew at batchelor.edu.au<mailto:margaret.carew at batchelor.edu.au>> wrote:
> Hi
> Karama is a suburb of Darwin. This is one of a number of suburbs named after Indigenous languages and clan groups.
> When I consult the NT Placenames register it says this:
> Karama is a Aboriginal tribal name, one of a number that Douglas Lockwood suggested might be used in 1964.
> Does anyone have any more information about the provenance of this name?
> Thanks
> ———————————————
> Dr Margaret Carew
> Linguist, CALL
> Division of Higher Education and Research
> Batchelor Institute – Desert People’s Centre campus
> tel: 08 8951 8344
> email: margaret.carew at batchelor.edu.au<mailto:margaret.carew at batchelor.edu.au> | www.batchelor.edu.au<http://www.batchelor.edu.au/>
> Both-Ways Tertiary Education and Research

David Osgarby [ˈɔskəˌbiː]
Research Associate, School of Languages and Cultures
The University of Queensland, St Lucia QLD 4072
ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL)
m: +61 432 962 476

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