The “stinking place” on Sydney’s shore
Before the European settlers developed it, the locale we now know as Coogee was a large food bowl for the local Aboriginal people. The thickly forested shoreline was prime habitat for kangaroos and wallabies and there was an abundance of fish in the ocean. But the area was also afflicted by a terrible smell, thought to be the result of the particularly pungent varieties of seaweed that washed onto the beach and rotted there. The Aboriginal people used the word “koojah” – which means “stinking place” or “bad smell” – to describe the vicinity. When the white settlers arrived, they liked the sound of “koojah” and created an Anglicised version, Coogee, without asking the locals what the word actually meant.
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PHOTO CREDIT- Alex Kess Photography/State Library of New South Wales