Meanings Behind Central Coast Suburb Names

Origins and history of our suburb names

Meanings Behind Central Coast Suburb Names

Every wondered where our suburbs got their names? Here's a bit of a look at the Indigenous history of our Central Coast neighbourhoods. 


Originally the name of the entire Lake Macquarie region, it’s believed to mean ‘a flat or plain surface’.

The area is the traditional land of the Awabakal people, who spread from Wollombi to the Lower Hunter River.

The name of the language they spoke was also ‘Awaba’.


It’s not entirely known which Indigenous language used the word ‘Bouddi’, but it was likely to mean ‘heart land’ or ‘water breaking over rocks’.


In the Darkinjung language, it’s believed ‘dooralong’ was a type of timber that made the best spears.


The Guringai (also spelt Kuringgai, Ku-ring-gai) tribe once stretched from northern Sydney Harbour through to the southern end of Lake Macquarie. The word ‘ettalong’ was likely of the Guringai language, and meant ‘drinking place’.

Kangy Angy

The Aboriginal origins of ‘kangy angy’ are somewhat unknown. As the site of the convict built Great North Road though, it’s speculated that it could mean ‘hill crossing’.


Believed to mean ‘snakes indeed’ in the Darkinjung language.


Part of the Guringai (Kuringai, Ku-ring-gai) land, it likely meant ‘koalas there’.


May have been used to refer to a ‘stone knife’ in the Darkinjung language.


In the Darkinjung language, ‘narara’ was the name of a small black snake – or worm – native to the area. The word itself is believed to mean ‘rib bones’ and refers to the smallness and nimbleness of the worm.


Most likely part of the Darkinjung land, it derives its name from the ceremony of manhood.

It’s made up of the “ourin” (may be ‘oorin’), which meant ‘belt of manhood’ and the ‘bora ring’ where initiation ceremonies took place.

A stone axe was carried on the youth’s first hunting expedition, and whatever was captured was brought back to the ‘bora ring’, or ceremonial ground, where the initiation of manhood took place.


Sometimes written as ‘Betonga’ on early maps, it’s believed to mean ‘oyster’ in the Guringai language (Kuringgai, Ku-ring-gai).


Toukley probably derived from the longer ‘toukley oukley’, which mean ‘rough on one side’ or ‘many brambles’ in the Darkinjung language.


The meaning of ‘tuggerah’ is not agreed upon. Some sources say the meaning is ‘cold place’ or ‘to shiver’, others say it is ‘savannah grasslands’. It may have been an Awabakal word, but again this is not a unanimous opinion.

It’s assumed so, because in the Awabakal language, ‘takara’ means ‘cold’.


The meaning and origin of ‘tuggerawong’ is unknown, but believed to be connected in the Awabakal language to the etymology of ‘tuggerah’.

Tumbi Umbi

Also spelt as ‘tombi ombi’, it’s believed to mean ‘loud roar of a raging torrent’ in the Awabakal languge.


Part of the Guringai (Kuringgai, Ku-ring-gai) language meaning ‘place of sleep’.


Understood to be part of the Awabakal language, the meaning of ‘wadalba’ is not entirely known. It’s thought to correspond to the word ‘wyongah’, from which Wyong has derived.


An Awabakal which may refer to the area’s prominent lookout spot, or may reference the mountain kangaroo that once populated the area in abundance.


Perhaps one of the most universally hated and loved suburb names in Australia, ‘watanobbi’ is often erroneously said to be derived from the Japanese surname ‘Watanobe’.

In actuality, the name comes from a combination of the Gamilaraay ‘nhaayba’ meaning ‘knife’ and the Torres Strait pigeon ‘wata’ meaning ‘water’.

So, it’s assumed ‘watanobbi’ means ‘water knife’ through the derision of two separate languages.

Woy Woy

The double name is believed to be a corruption of the Darkinjung word meaning ‘much water’.

The repetition is assumed to signify the enormity of the water channel, but it is unclear whether that was an intention of the original language.


Of the Awabakal language, meaning ‘fire’ or ‘place of bushfires’.


In the Darkinjung language, it means ‘edible yam’, referring to the species in abundance in its waterways.

More modern reports also say that the word could mean ‘running water’, but these claims are unverified.


In the Darkinjung language, ‘wyongah’ has the same etymology as ‘wyong’ and is believed to mean ‘yam patch’.


Traditionally the land of the Darkinjung people, it derives from the two words meaning horse (Yarraman) and place (long).

Yarraman might have a linguistic connection to the words ‘yira’ and ‘yera’, meaning large teeth.


Owing to the use of the word by the Kaurna people of South Australia, it’s assumed ‘yattalunga’ derives from ‘yertala’ or ‘yattala’ meaning ‘cascade waterfall’.



Bennett, F. C., ed. (1981). The Story of the Aboriginal People of the Central Coast of New South Wales. Brisbane Water Historical Society and The Entrance and District Historical Society 


R.A. Stanley