View Full Version : The Real Definition of Moomba

08-23-2006, 03:28 PM
I had some free time today at work thought you all might enjoy this:

Origins of the Name Moomba
The official translation is "let's get together and have fun."

In 1981 Barry Blake in his Australian Aboriginal Languages spelt out the etymology in more detail:

Undoubtedly the most unfortunate choice of a proper name from Aboriginal sources was made in Melbourne when the city fathers chose to name the city's annual festival 'Moomba'. The name is supposed to mean 'Let's get together and have fun', though one wonders how anyone could be naive enough to believe that all this can be expressed in two syllables. In fact 'moom' (mum) means 'buttocks' or 'anus' in various Victorian languages and 'ba' is a suffix that can mean 'at', 'in' or 'on'. Presumably someone has tried to render 'up your bum' in the vernacular.

Furthermore, in 1969, Luise Hercus provided the following definition for 'mum' (i.e., 'moom') in The Languages of Victoria:

Mum: bottom, rump. The jocular Healesville expression 'mum ba' 'bottom and . . .' has been given to the authorities in jest with the translation 'let us get together and have fun', hence the Melbourne Moomba Festival

The link to read about this online is:


So I guess its kinda funny that we parade by other boats on the lake with "Up yours pal" on the sides of our boats.

08-23-2006, 11:36 PM
This was covered a few times in the past years. I did some of my own research as well...

The "nice" version started at "Tribal gathering" then "Gathering of friends", then recently "Let's get together to have fun" - which is downright silly.

The long version of this story, is that an Aborignal tribal elder was invited to the original Melborne festival in the 50's before it had a name. The dates that were chosen happen to coinside with an Aboriginal holy celebration, and when asked to help name the festival with an Aboriginal word - he thought and finally said "Moomba" - to which he explained the "nice" meaning of "Tribal gathering" to the appreciative white men asking. Aboriginies have had a chuckle ever since.

I think I will add my info to the Wiki.