The tale of Wilyabrup

One of the Wilyabrup signs.
One of the Wilyabrup signs.
Another spelling of Wilyabrup.

Another spelling of Wilyabrup.

THERE’S an L of a fight going on at Wilyabrup – literally.

Some may see it as taking two bob each way, as there are two signs with different spelling, that flank the brook in that location.

As these signs show, some prefer that Wilyabrup is spelt this way, while others prefer it spelt with two Ls.

It appears that both signs said Wilyaburp, then someone changed it to Willyabrup, and then someone else erased one of the new Ls.

So how has it got to this, in the heart of the Margaret River wine region?

It would seem that some locals believe Willyabrup was spelt this way initially and wanted it to stay that way, even though it is officially recognised as being spelt Wilyabrup.

Just for the L of it, the Mail decided to try and sort it out.

Where else to start than with Landgate’s Geographic Names Database.

It says the origins and history of Wilyabrup (their spelling) is located near the Wilyabrup Brook (where the signs are), from which the local name was derived. Wilyabrup Brook first appeared on a plan for the district (Sussex) in 1865.

It was orginally recorded as a postal district and first appeared on a public plan in 1965, which was cancelled in July 1976. It was proposed as a bounded locality by Busselton shire in June 1987 and approved in November that year.

Now to what’s in a name?

Landgate says the name was sometimes shown incorrectly as Willyabrup Brook and often appeared on cancelled public plans as that.

A local family, Bignell, used that spelling for the upper end of the brook, on what was their land at the time.

Yet, the lower end of the brook is shown as Wilyabrup on those maps, while earlier maps from the 1860s also use that spelling.

The surveyor, who first recorded the name, in the 1860s, almost certainly obtained his spelling from Alfred Bussell of Ellenbrook, who was active in recording indigenous names, according to Landgate records.

However, a book by Rod Mile on Aboriginal names of the South West suggests that Wilyabrup may be derived from Worlyabaraap, which means northern sky.

So, perhaps, to end all arguments the location should be called Worlyabaraap!