Corroboree…the story behind the story.

The District 69 newsletter has been known by the name Corroboree since 1993 when it was changed from the name Bulletin.  Corroboree is an English corruption of the indigenous word carribberie meaning a coming together, gathering or meeting.

For Toastmasters of District 69, Corroboree reflected the aspect of exchanging ideas and information that occurred around such important ceremonial gatherings.  However since 1993 there has been significant public discourse in our country around race, reconciliation and recognition which has created greater sensitivity around understandings of language and how it is used.

I propose that it is time to reconsider the appropriateness of the borrowed term corroboree as the name for the Toastmasters District 69 newsletter.  An article in Corroboree magazine (Oct 2011) said the adoption of the name ‘Corroboree’ in 1993 was the result of ‘A recommendation in World Headquarters educational material that the name Bulletin is not a creative name and reflects a lack of concern for quality’ and that Corroboree was chosen in 1993 as “Indigenous Australians have passed on information through song and dance for thousands of years. The name of District 69’s newsletter similarly reflects the passing on of information and the evolution of communications”.

I believe that 20 years on we should reconsider the name particularly in light of the largely sacred and spiritual significance which the original word carriberrie has for indigenous Australians.

A survey was conducted of members of my club, Mullum Magic, and neighbours Lennox Lightning Club in 2012, regarding interest in a name change.  Over three quarters of respondents indicated support for reconsideration of the name, particularly given the potential for miscommunication regarding the significance of the word for indigenous communities. A range of alternatives including grapevine, speak-up, connections, inspire was proposed.  Out of this discussion we moved a motion at the District 69 Council Meeting in May to change the name from Corroboree to Storylines.  This motion has been held over following extensive and inconclusive discussion.

It is now proposed that the issue be canvassed more fully across District 69 membership for a decision to be made at the District 69 Council Meeting to be held in November 2013 at the Semi Annual Conference.  District 69 clubs are asked to give this matter full consideration.  There are three essential questions we need to answer:

  1. Is Corroboree an appropriate name for the District 69 Newsletter?
  2. Should the name of the District 69 newsletter be changed ?
  3. If yes, what should the new name be?

My suggestion is that clubs signal a discussion to be scheduled in a forthcoming meeting, to give members time to fully consider the question and to come up with alternative names if they support a change.  So that discussion of this idea can be incorporated effectively into the Council Meeting scheduled for 9 November at the Semi Annual Conference clubs are requested complete the online survey found here:

Megan Young

Mullum Magic Toastmasters Club 674916