A letter to the editor of the West Australian in 1912 has shed some light on the origin of the name Dumbleyung. The writer, who uses a nom de plume, as many did in the early days, speaks of the need for uniformity in spelling, as well as pronunciation of surrounding place names, including Dumbleyung.
He said it was common to find a name of a place spelt three or four different ways. He said there had been no end of argument around the name Dumbleyung. ‘Later settlers used the name Dumbleyung, while the old gropers favour Dumbling, and to hear an Aboriginal pronounce it there is no mistake about the word Mrs Daisy used Tambeling’ (sic).
‘On the Dumbleyung road at the turnoff to Cronin’s (Bunkun but now Bunkin), there is an old sign board with the official name ‘Dumbling Lake’. When Landor and Lefroy discovered the lake in 1843 they said it was referred to by the Aboriginals as Dambeling but maybe they failed to correctly hear the first letter.
People from the eastern states, many of whom arrived at the turn of the century, used the name Dumbleyung. This may answer a few questions for those Dumbleyung residents who have always wondered where the name Dambeling came from and how it evolved to the present day Dumbleyung.
Footnote: The Aboriginals played a game called Dumbung which was very similar to the game of hockey. A stick was fashioned by placing a jam branch in the coals and the seed of the native pear was used for the ball. The Dumbleyung school magazine is called the ‘Dumbung’.
Pictured right: Mrs Daisy Bates lived with the Aboriginals for 40 years and was considered an authority on Aboriginal language and customs.
Article by B.Bartram