South Morang is an anomaly in geography, a place whose name would seem to mark it as a satellite of another place – another place that is, in this case, non-existent. How could such a thing happen? There are a number of theories.
It is possible, just barely, that South Morang is named after Morang, which is a district of Nepal. However, given that the Nepalese-descended population of the area only reached double figures in the Twenty First Century, this seems rather unlikely. Nor does the area bear much of a resemblance to the Himalayan heights of its namesake.
Other explanations seem even more far-fetched. There are no early settlers in the region named Morang, or even Moran. It is, to say the least, unlikely that the name is actually meringue very badly misspelled.
The actual truth lies in the Woiwurrung language of the Wurundjeri people who lived there prior to European settlement. The first encounter between native and invader in the area took place in about 1845, and featured an imperfect knowledge of the other’s language on both sides. Somehow, the English word ‘shout’ and the Woiwurrung word ‘marnang’ became linked, and each side mistakenly thought that the word in the foreign language was the other’s side name for the area. The divergence between the actually words and their later spelling is no doubt an artifact of heavy accents and the pattern-seeking qualities of the human mind.
Suburbs near South Morang: