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Tropical north Queensland - Home of the OORAY

History of the OORAY Name

Tropical North Queensland – Home of the OORAY

The term OORAY originates from the traditional owners of land located in far north Queensland.

The OORAY is endemic to far north Queensland. The fruit from this tree have been utilised by indigenous people for thousands of years. There are numerous customs, dreaming stories, ceremonies and significant cultural sites associated with OORAY.

In 1900 Frederick Bailey, the Queensland Colonial Botanist, noted the use of the indigenous name, OORAY, used by aboriginal people in the Tully River region. The term OORAY has a continuity that has not been broken - it extends from the present back countless generations.

The species had been previously described and named Davidsonia pruriens by the botanist F. von Muller using  samples collected by his associate John Dallachy in 1867.

It is important that the OORAY be identified by its scientific name Davidsonia pruriens to distinguish it from related species and for scientific research and taxonomy purposes.

There was a time when some non-indigenous Australians referred to OORAY as Davidson’s or Davidson plum. It was once not uncommon for white fellas to name things that they thought they had “discovered” after themselves or someone they knew.

Fortunately, indigenous and non-indigenous people alike never stopped using the term OORAY. Alternative phonic spellings of OORAY are wiray in Ma:Mu language and wiiraa in Ngadjonji language but the word remains the same.