Kooyong

It is a fact little known to anyone outside of the Campaign for Symmetrical English that many a word in English is used without concern for the fact that it has an equal and opposite word. Indeed, many such a word is created needlessly, without any prior checking to confirm whether or not an apposite word already exists. Of course, it is also true that many of these words find their opposites unused because there is little need for them. Such a word is cooyong, the much less widely known and used opposite of cooee.

The region of Melbourne now known as Kooyong bears that name for precisely that reason: when it was first settled in the 1840s by John ‘Black Jack’ Turner, who tried his luck at farming but eventually grew tired of the derision the remoteness of his farm from Melbourne occasioned. It was not in cooee of Melbourne, only in cooyong. And although many another place in Victoria fit that description, only Turner’s farm seemed to attract it. In part, this was due to the extreme unpopularity of John’s wife, Margaret – all surviving accounts refer to her generally unpleasant nature (although her notorious short temper seems to have been largely the result of ingrown toenails). But after Margaret’s death, and the beginning of the gold rush, Turner simply abandoned the property known as Maggie’s Farm, and became an equally unsuccessful gold miner in Ballarat. (He participated in the Eureka Stockade uprising, and later became a bushranger.)

The name, however, stuck. When Philomenus T. Rutherford took over Turner’s abandoned property, he saw a potential in the neatly plowed and flattened fields that Turner had never realised. It took three generations of Rutherfords to see the dream realised, but eventually Kooyong became the home of Australian tennis.

Suburbs near Kooyong: