Monday 21 October 2019

Waddy Forest or Waddi Forest?

Every so often we receive an email or comment from someone perplexed as to how we've spelled Waddi Forest incorrectly - not once but hundreds if not thousands of times! Goodness, how did that happen!?

It turns out there's no mistake in this recurring 'error' of ours. We took our lead from the Coorow Heritage Group, deciding to use what is the official spelling today and what was the most frequently used spelling over the district's earlier years.

The late Alison Doley advised us that when the the post office was established at Waddy Forest a mistake was made with the postal stamp being issued for Waddy Forrest. A double 'rr' has been used on the presumption that it was surely named after explorer Sir John Forrest. A response was made that no, it was a literal forest (with a single 'r') and arrangements were made for the name to be corrected. However, when the new stamps arrived they were for Waddi Forest. The story goes that at this point the local postmistress gave up!

The stamps were used, marking mail as from Waddi Forest, however, locals and community organisations continued to widely use the spelling of Waddy Forest.

The cover of the schedule for the 1948 Coorow-Waddy Agricultural Show

We've observed that local and regional newspapers used the Waddy spelling until during the 1940s when the editor of The North Midland Times suddenly changed to Waddi. From the stamps and we believe this change in the press, the spelling of Waddi was gradually used more and more until Waddy was all but a distant memory. Another influence towards the change may have been large-scale and prominent farmer Gus Liebe, who named his farm Waddi and was an early user of the Waddi Forest spelling.

In 1996 the Coorow Heritage Group successfully requested the spelling of the district be officially corrected and as a result it appears on maps today as Waddy Forest.

Related Content:

If you have a connection to Waddy Forest, we encourage you to take a look at our 
Biographical Dictionary of Coorow, Carnamah and Three Springs, which contains biographies for many of Waddy Forest's settlers and residents.

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