The land of the Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people covers a wide area with Kununurra at the heart of Miriwoong country. The Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people used to live in harmony with the land from Molly Spring in the west, most of the mighty Ord River including parts of Lake Argyle and way beyond the Northern Territory border across Keep River National Park and up to the coast.
Things have changed greatly since this time and many Miriwoong and Gajirrabeng people have moved into town or adjacent communities. MDWg regularly visits the outer communities and the people still living there, to talk about the old times and learn from the abundant knowledge of the Elders.
Did you know the word ‘Kununurra’ does not mean ‘Meeting of big waters’? This is one of the most widespread myths and lacks any linguistic basis. The name is actually derived from the Miriwoong word ‘Goonoonoorrang’ (alternatively Gananoorrang) which means ‘river’. This is a perfect name for the place by the Ord River. Unfortunately, nobody asked the Miriwoong people before publishing the wrong meaning in guide books and promotional materials.