Meeka is a real name? Oh…:(

About ten years ago when I started playing mmo’s (massively multiplayer online [games]) I chose the name ‘Meeka’ for my second character on Final Fantasy XI because I liked the sound of it. I had been pouring over maps of Australia and had discovered a place a place in Western Australia called Meekathara. Being lazy I shortened it to Meeka and I have been using it ever since, never guessing that it was a real name!

Meekathara is an aboriginal name meaning ‘place of little water’ – rather appropriate for Western Australia. Apparently the town has been through a succession of small gold rushes which is probably the only reason it  survived with a rainfall counted in the low double digits – 7.9 – 20 inches for the whole year! So there is not a great deal of significance to Meekathara but I really fell in love with the sound of that name.

It seems I have not been alone in my love of indigenous place names. For most of our short history white Australians have either ignored the indigenous peoples who were here before us or we have treated them as less than human. Yet despite this, indigenous place names have crept into our vocabulary and have stayed there.

When I arrived in Australia at the age of four, my parents and I spent our first year in New South Wales, living in an inland town by the name of Wagga Wagga. Wagga Wagga means ‘place of many crows’. We boarded with an Australian family whose house was a stone’s throw away from the Murrumbidgee river which means ‘big water’. After moving from NSW to Victoria we settled in Melbourne and eventually moved to a suburb called Eaglemont, very european, but the house I grew up in was called ‘Awaba’ which comes from the indigenous word for ‘a flat place’. Now this was a little strange as the word itself comes from NSW and the house is in Victoria. Stranger still, the house is on top of quite a steep hill in a suburb that is nothing but hills. We used to speculate that the man who built the house must have originally come from NSW or have some connection to it.

Right now I live in an outer suburb of Melbourne  called Warrandyte [more gold rush history] which is bisected by the river Yarra. Apparently the man who named the river, John Helder Wedge, was with two aboriginal trackers at the time and they called out ‘Yarra Yarra’ when they saw the waterfall but Wedge thought they were talking about the river so that was what he named it. Bit of mistaken identity there that was very common at the time. The real name of the river was Birrarung (something like ‘endless flow’) but the name Yarra stuck. The township of Warrandyte is itself an indigenous word linked to a dreamtime myth :

“In Australian Aboriginal mythology (see dreamtime), a Wurundjeri dreamtime story tells of a great eagle; “the all powerful, ever watchful creator of the world” named Bunjil, who “once gazed down upon his people from the star Altair and saw their wrong doing. Awaiting their return, with a mighty crash of thunder, he hurled down a star to destroy them”. Where the star struck created a gorge in which much of the town today is located. Bunjil’s people remembered the spot, and referred to it as Warrandyte speculated to mean “that which is thrown”.”
Wiki

I’m sure that if I googled Victorian place names I would find hundreds of place names that owe their origin to the people we displaced. And dispossessed. I’m just glad that something of that rich heritage has survived.

But if my lovely made up name is real then where did it come from? And what does it mean? My thanks again to wiki for the following definition :

“me(e)-ka\ as a girl’s name is a variant of Dominique (French, Latin) and Mika (Japanese), and the meaning of Meeka is “lord; beautiful aroma; beautiful increase”.”

When I read this I just had to smile. Not at the meaning, although that is rather nice but rather at its provenance. French and Japanese are my two favourite languages and, not surprisingly, when I was a teacher back at the dawn of time, those were the languages I taught! So despite my disappointment at not being the creator of the name ‘Meeka’ I am more than happy to remain connected with it.

Perhaps I should just change my name to Meeka by deed poll – Meeka Flory has a nice ring to it. I am tempted as I’ve never liked my given name of ‘Andrea’. It sounds nice in Hungarian – On-drey-oh. It even sounds nice in Italian – Ahn-drey-ah. In aussie English though – Ann- dree-ah just sounds… nasal.

Oh well, I am who I am and I guess that includes the name but if anyone wants to call me ‘Meeka’ or ‘Meeks’ I’ll smile and say ‘You rang?’

Cheers,

Meeks

About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

17 responses to “Meeka is a real name? Oh…:(

  • Meeka

    Actually there are a few of us around, Australia-wide, bearing the birth name Meeka, including the Aboriginal doll ‘Meeka’ from playschool.while it was pretty unusual when my parents chose it in 1978, it seems to be increasing.

    Like

    • acflory

      Oh my god – welcome! I love the name and would probably change to it officially by deed poll if I wasn’t so lazy 😀

      It really is lovely to meet a real Meeka!

      Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    I usually put recent publications front and center on my blogs, which are what people really read (frequent updates and all of that). But it is something to consider. Thanks!

    Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    Of sorts, yes, but not really. Stephanie Allen is my maiden name. Stephanie Crist is my married name. I just put them together.

    As far as “published,” please note that I’m talking about short stories, poems, and articles–not books. My complete portfolio is available here: http://www.stephanieallencrist.com/Portfolio-Page.php.

    When I do have books published, the links will be much more prominent.

    Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    The power of the pen name gives you the ability to assume an identity while retaining your own legal name. Something to think about.

    My husband has his own RPG generated name, too, and he uses it for all his online access. Markezuma. Derived from his own first name and Montezuma.

    My online identity, on the other hand, is something of a fluke. I was first published under my maiden name. Then I was published under my married name by accident. Before I knew it, I had to use both just so my work would be recognized as a “body of work” instead of random pieces scattered about the ether.

    Like

  • lorddavidprosser

    Dear Meeks, if you step forward now and say ‘You rang’, I shall forever associate you with Lurch from the Adam’s Family and you won’t be the petite little Geisha I imagine you to be, happily herding your alpacas with tiny little footsteps and dressed in your beautiful Japanese robes complete with obi (wan kenobi).
    Place names with a hold on the past are great and the British maps are dotted with villages owing their names to invaders of one kind or another, Vikings, Danes, Angles, Saxons etc. You’ll even find some Celtish Welsh names inside the English borders from before the English ‘re-arranged’ our borders with the help of a sword or two. But many people will have heard of Nottingham because of the association with Robin Hood, few will know it was originally the hamlet of Snotta. Snotta( Saxon man’s name) inga ( belonging to) ham (village).Though some say it’s the home of the wise man (snot) but no child would ever believe that one.
    We tend to take things for granted and your post reminds us to look at the rich cultural heritage that place names can signify. Obviously Australia’s Aboriginal past has left the same heritage behind for generations to come.

    Like

    • acflory

      Sadly I’m far too short to be Lurch [definitely my favourite characters!] and nowhere near petite enough for that geisha! -cries-

      Snotta-inga-ham????????? -sound of heavy thump-
      You just made me fall off my chair I was laughing so hard! Game, set and match!

      Like

  • metan

    I like the name Meeka, thanks for sharing its origin with us, and I agree Meeka Flory does have a nice ring to it!

    I didn’t know the meaning behind Warrandyte, I love some of those Aboriginal place names. (I also love the story that when an explorer asks a native what that thing is called the native says ‘a river, idiot’ or suchlike in their native tongue. The explorer then names it with this exotic moniker not understanding what was said 😉 )

    I am impressed that you were a teacher of two languages, I did Japanese at school but sadly remember little more than ‘doko ni ikimasu ka’…. 🙂

    PS: remember the post I did about snakes in cars? I got a comment on there last night you might want to read 🙂

    Like

    • acflory

      I’ll be honest…I didn’t know even half of the names and meanings in the post until I started checking up on my facts and then they just came cascading out!

      Sabishii – my Japanese went west, or east a long time ago as well. Hate to tell you how many /decades/ lie between then and now.

      p.s. on my way 😀

      Like

  • Candy

    A great story behind the MEEKA name!

    Being from New Amsterdam, er…. New York, I have only to dig a little to find the native American names that are a part of contemporary American English. I live on the island of Manhattan — Algonquian for isolated in water (island). The native American heritage(s) mark all sorts of familiar place names from Dakota to Saratoga and many places in-between.

    I like Meeka. It’s cool and original.

    Like

    • acflory

      lol – that’s amazing. I would never have thought that ‘manhattan’ was a native American name. It’s so well known and so synonymous with all things American. It’s only now that you’ve pointed that out that my brain is doing a “doh…what else could it be” thing 😀

      Like

      • candy

        Yeah… it’s one of those words that trick you because of familiarity. But the U.S. — with so many different native cultures and languages — has tons of place names of American Indian origins.

        Like

  • alexlaybourne

    That was a great post Meeka. (I have to agree it is a great name). I love history, and think it is great to learn about the places around us. The aboriginal history of Australia is certainly a rich and colorful one.

    I never knew that you taught Japanese and French. Japan is a country that fascinates me, although more from the historical standpoint than the modern one. If I could (when I next start to) learn another language Japanese would be it

    Like

    • acflory

      I learnt Japanese at uni and sadly I’ve forgotten most of what I knew [the super polite female language that foreigners learn]. If I ever get to fulfill /my/ dream of actually going to Japan I’ll have to join you in those classes 😀 And yes, my fascination lies with the historical as well.

      Like

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