Wajarri Yamatji Names for CSIRO ASKAP Antennas

The ASKAP antennas naming ceremony at the MRO. Credit: Dragonfly Media.
During the ASKAP antennas naming ceremony held at the MRO. Credit: Dragonfly Media.
The Wajarri Yamatji family representatives hold the plaques that will be affixed to CSIRO's ASKAP antennas. Credit: Dragonfly Media.

2 June 2011

In a local community event, CSIRO’s first six ASKAP (Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder) antennas have officially been given Wajarri Yamatji names.

Chosen by the Wajarri Yamatji elders, the names were bestowed by representatives of seven Aboriginal families at a ceremony at the Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO), during which name plaques were fixed to each antenna.

The Wajarri names chosen for the antennas are: Bilyarli (which both means galah and is also the name of a past Wajarri Elder, Mr Frank Ryan); Bundarra (stars); Wilara (the Moon); Jirdilungu (the Milky Way); Balayi (a lookout, as this antenna looks down westward to others); and Diggidumble (a nearby table-top hill).

"These names will be a permanent reminder that this is the land of the Wajarri people," said Mr Gavin Egan, Chair of Wajarri Yamatji Native Title Group.

Roads and other significant structures will also be given Wajarri names. One of the roads will be called Ngurlubarndi, the Wajarri name for Mr Fred Simpson, a past Wajarri Elder and father of Wajarri Elder Mr Ike Simpson. CSIRO’s ASKAP Director, Antony ("Ant") Schinckel was also given a Wajarri name — Minga, which means "ant".

Further naming of the remaining 30 antennas will take place as more are installed on site, so that eventually all 36 of CSIRO’s ASKAP antennas will have a Wajarri name.

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