Have you ever wondered how Coolangatta got its name?
Let’s explore the intriguing origins of the aboriginal name Coolangatta (and how it came to name a town in Queensland).
Coolangatta Mountain in NSW
The name of Coolangatta in Queensland actually originates from the mountain called Coolangatta in New South Wales.
Situated near the town of Shoalhaven Heads, this picturesque little hill holds historical significance for the region.
The mountain, covered in lush greenery, earned its name from the local indigenous language (Jerrinja).
Cullunghutti (A Jerrinja word)
The name Coolangatta comes from an indigenous language spoken by the Jerrinja people.
“Cullunghutti” is a Jerrinja word, and it refers to the magnificent Coolangatta Mountain in New South Wales. It literally means “beautiful place” or “splendid view” (you have a lovely view of the water from the top of the mountain).
The Jerrinja people, with their deep connection to the land and waterways, played a vital role in shaping the culture and history of the region.
Alexander Barry’s ship and Coolangatta’s new identity
Alexander Barry, a Scotsman, built the Coolangatta Estate at the base of Coolangatta Mountain in NSW.
In the early 1840s, there was a tragic event with his ship (named the Coolangatta) carrying red cedar logs that occurred off the coast of what is now Coolangatta.
The ship was bar-bound and prevented access to the Tweed River due to a sand bank, and encountered treacherous surf conditions due to storm which lead to its wreckage. This shipwreck incident became etched in history, and the town of Coolangatta was later named after the ship in 1883.
The town embraced the name “Coolangatta” as a way to honor the unfortunate vessel.
A symbol of heritage and natural splendor
Over the years, Coolangatta has transformed from a shipwreck memorial into a vibrant coastal haven.
The town’s breathtaking beauty and welcoming atmosphere attract surfers, sun-seekers, and nature enthusiasts from far and wide.
Although Coolangatta, QLD is Bundjalung (Yugambeh) country, the name itself is Jerrinja in origin.
Today, Coolangatta stands as a symbol of Australia’s diverse heritage, embracing its indigenous roots and commemorating the past. It serves as a living testament to the interplay between history and the present, as well as a reminder of the strength and resilience of both the land and its people.
Next time you find yourself strolling along Coolangatta’s sandy shores, take a moment to appreciate its rich history and the cultural significance that this town holds. Coolangatta, with its indigenous heritage and maritime tales, continues to hold hearts, leaving an indelible mark on all who are fortunate enough to visit.