[Ads-l] Australian radio telescopes given Indigenous names

Mark Mandel markamandel at GMAIL.COM
Wed Oct 27 01:18:06 UTC 2021

CSIRO’s¹ iconic Parkes radio telescope given Indigenous names

To mark the start of NAIDOC² week,
CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope has been honoured with a traditional name
chosen by Wiradjuri Elders and revealed at a local naming ceremony.

9 November 2020 • News Release

The 64-metre telescope is located on Wiradjuri country in central west New
South Wales, approximately 380km west of Sydney.

It received the name Murriyang, which represents the 'Skyworld' where a
prominent creator spirit of the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame), lives.

Two smaller telescopes at CSIRO's Parkes Observatory also received
Wiradjuri names.

Wiradjuri Elder Rhonda Towney conducted the naming ceremony, and Elder Dr
Stan Grant AM revealed the telescope's Wiradjuri names.

As Australia's national science agency, CSIRO is committed to building
genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
through education, science, innovation and research and demonstrates this
commitment by fostering a culture that respects and honours the rich
history of the nation.

Over two years, CSIRO's local Parkes staff worked in collaboration with
Wiradjuri Elders, the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group and the
North West Wiradjuri Language & Culture NEST on the telescope naming

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said Australia had a rich heritage
of exploring the world and the stars, and it's humbling to link our early
steps to connect to the Universe with that ancient wisdom.

"Science is the search for truth, often we think we are the first to
discover it, but much of the knowledge we seek was discovered long before
us," Dr Marshall said.

"We're honoured that the Wiradjuri Elders have given traditional names to
our telescopes at Parkes, to connect them with the oldest scientific
tradition in the world."

Dr Grant said the ceremony was a very proud day for the Wiradjuri people.

"This is something that has been coming for a very long time," Dr Grant

“The naming of the telescopes is one of the biggest things to happen to our

Wiradjuri Elder and representative of the NSW Aboriginal Education
Consultative Group David Towney said language was “everything about who and
what we are".

"We teach language to understand country, culture and sky stories," Mr
Towney said.

"Connecting our language to the telescope is connecting the telescope to
country, and commemorating this during NAIDOC week is a way for people to
come together and celebrate Wiradjuri culture."

Executive Manager of CSIRO's Office of Indigenous Engagement Louisa Warren
said giving the telescopes traditional names acknowledges and pays respect
to the astronomical knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

"Naming the telescopes is an example of our Reconciliation Action Plan in
action," Ms Warren said.

"The plan affirms our commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander peoples, the oldest living culture in the world.

"It recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first
people of Australia and respects their enduring connection to lands, skies,
waters, plants and animals."
The Wiradjuri names for the three telescopes are:

*Murriyang, for the 64-metre Parkes radio telescope*

In the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame) is a prominent creator spirit
and is represented in the sky by the stars which also portray the Orion
constellation. Murriyang represents the 'Skyworld' where Biyaami lives.

*Giyalung Miil, for the 12-metre ASKAP testing antenna*

Meaning 'Smart Eye' this telescope was commissioned in 2008 as a testbed
for a special new type of receiver technology (phased array feed, PAF) used
on CSIRO's Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) antennas.
The PAF is able see different parts of the sky simultaneously making it a
'smart eye'.

*Giyalung Guluman, for the 18-metre decommissioned antenna*

Meaning 'Smart Dish' this antenna had the ability to move along a railway
track while observing, and when linked to the main 64-metre antenna became
pivotal in early work that determined the size and brightness of radio
sources in the sky. The antenna was originally assembled at the CSIRO
Fleurs Radio Telescope site, Penrith NSW in 1960, was transported to Parkes
in 1963 and became operational in 1965.

The article takes the acronyms for granted. Definitions:

¹ Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

² NAIDOC Week (/ˈneɪdɒk/ NAY-dok) is an Australian observance lasting from
the first Sunday in July until the following Sunday. The acronym NAIDOC
stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

Mark A. Mandel

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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