Famous Parkes Radio Telescope given Wiradjuri name ‘Murriyang’

By Australian Geographic 9 November 2020
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The name Murriyang means ‘Skyworld’ in the Wiradjuri language.

The CSIRO’s Parkes radio telescope has been honoured with the Wiradjuri name ‘Murriyang’, kicking off a week of NAIDOC celebrations.

Last year, the telescope, famous for transmitting video footage of the first Moon landing to 600 million people across the world, was officially added to the National Heritage List.

The name Murriyang, announced during a naming ceremony by Wiradjuri Elder Rhonda Towney and Stan Grant, means ‘Skyworld’, where a prominent creator spirit of the Wiradjuri Dreaming, Biyaami (Baiame), lives.

Related: Honeysuckle Creek: the little-known heroes of the Moon walk broadcast

In a speech, CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall honoured Australia’s first astronomers. “Science is the search for truth, often we think we are the first to discover it, but much of the knowledge we seek was discovered long before us,” he says.

“We’re honoured that the Wiradjuri Elders have given traditional names to our telescopes at Parkes, to connect them with the oldest scientific tradition in the world.”

Two smaller CSIRO telescopes were also given Wiradjuri names: Giyalung Miil, meaning ‘smart eye’, for the 12-metre ASKAP testing antenna and Giyalung Guluman or ‘smart dish’ for the 18-metre decommissioned antenna.