Tuerong

Tuerong is almost unique among Melbourne suburbs in that it was actually named from humility rather than pride (or, more often, with an eye to the marketing possibilities). And the humility came from a pair or rather surprising sources.

Paulos Tyabb was a geologist who was also a devout Christian, and who thus spent most of his career trying to reconcile the revealed truths of his faith and his profession. Etienne L’Ontrose was a highly unsuccessful prospector who spent much of his career searching for gold where it wasn’t (in fairness, he was searching for undiscovered lodes).

In the 1880s, Tyabb was living at the edge of the area that now bears his name, near the site of present day Devilbend Reservoir. He was by this time a bitter drunkard, knowing in his heart that geology proved that the earth had existed longer than Bishop Usher claimed, but not willing to admit it. Ontrose had spent the previous decade and more slowly working his way south from the area that now bears his name, and was likewise bitter, although less drunk, about his failure to discover any gold.

The two met one fine night in late 1880, when Ontrose, who lived in mortal fear that if he ever found gold, someone would steal it from him, was looking for someone to toast the execution of Ned Kelly with. He found Tyabb, who would happily drink to anything, and the two spent the night splitting the three bottles of chartreuse that Ontrose had acquired for the occasion. Finding in each other kindred spirits – and in vino, veritas – the two poured out their sorrows to each other and exchanged mutual comfort. And by the time the last bottle was empty, they had reached a point of honesty with each other and with themselves about their respective errors, and in honour of this catharsis – which made it possible for both men to return to civilisation once more – they named the place where it had occurred in such a way that they would never forget what they had learned there. They called it “Two Are Wrong”, although later residents, believing the name to be a native word, transliterated it differently.

Suburbs near Tuerong: