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Matina – More than a popular Kytherian female name!

Updated: Dec 15, 2022

Often while researching it is not hard to get off track and make unexpected discoveries which inspire you to keep on going in a different direction until you come across a fact that makes everything fall into place. This is what happened a few months ago when I was searching for an article online about a ‘Matina’. What I stumbled across was an entry for real estate on ‘Matina Street’ in a place called Narrabundah with a postcode indicating it was in rural New South Wales or Canberra.


Street Sign Matina Street Narrabundah. Photo taken by Kalie Zervos

The name Matina (derived from Stamatina, which is also Italian for ‘this morning’) is a very popular Kytherian female name. I was intrigued to find out where Narrabundah was located and why a street should bare this typical Kytherian name. My immediate thought was to search for the postcode to locate the town and then research if any Kytherians had lived there to help locate the ‘Matina’ which the street was named after. It turned out to be the name of a suburb in Canberra, not far from Australian Parliament House.


I was on a mission to uncover information that would provide me with an answer. What great things had this woman achieved to have a street named after her? Was she the wife of a prominent early Kytherian settler to Canberra? I knew the city was established in the early 1900s after the rural location was selected as the capital city of the newly federated Australian nation, so I went looking in Trove for old newspapers or documents that would shed some light. What I stumbled across was a 1979 article in the Canberra Times making reference to the gentrification of the suburb of Narrabundah mentioning Matina Street, which had been named in 1947.


Street view of Matina Street Narrabundah, with Russian Orthodox Church on the corner. Photo taken by Kalie Zervos

With a firm date, I was investigating early Kytherian families in Canberra, but I could not find any evidence of a Matina living there during those years. I thought to check government gazettes which refer to naming of streets in Canberra but alas the only mention of Narrabundah was in 1947 which stated the name of the suburb was an Aboriginal name. Not satisfied, I submitted an enquiry to the Australian Capital Territory government. The gentlemen from their archives department responded stating that he was fascinated by my inquiry and after doing some extensive research was able to confirm that Matina Street was not named after a woman but rather is an indigenous word in the local Aboriginal language meaning ‘one’.

To end this journey of discovery, on a recent trip to Canberra we located Matina Street and taking photos of the street sign created an amusing photo opportunity for my sister, named Matina of course!

So, to all those named Matina out there, you may have already thought it, but now there is affirmation (at least in an Australian Indigenous language) you are number ONE!


Kalie Zervos



Bibliography

Archives of ACT government, archives@act.gov.au


Anon ‘Plan for 'Dogkennels' Narrabundah area to be redeveloped’, The Canberra Times, 2 July 1979, p. 6, trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/110564605, accessed 15 March 2022.

Commonwealth of Australia Gazette (National: 1901-1973), 9 October 1952, iss. 69, p.3995, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/232892129/25080674, accessed 15 March 2022.

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