The word ‘Kippa-Ring’ derives from earthen rings used by the Aboriginal people for ritual gatherings. These rings are generally termed ‘bora rings’ and there could be two or three rings linked together, The word ‘kippa’ refers to a young man. It was said that young Aboriginal men went through initiation ceremonies in a ‘kippa ring’ which was usually slightly smaller than the bora ring.
The average size of a large ring is about 25-30 metres across, and a small ring 10-12 metres. There is a wide range of variation however. The earth is mounded up to a height of 25-50 centimetres. Usually there is a path, often to the south-west from the large ring, connecting to smaller ring.
According to Tom Petrie, a Queensland pioneer who associated with the Aborigines from his early boyhood,
“The greater ceremony of kippa-making was carried out in the following fashion and what is known as the ‘bora’ ceremony of other tribes is not unlike it. First a circle - called ‘bul’ by Brisbane blacks and ‘tur’ by the Bribie Island tribe - was formed in the ground, very like a circus ring, the earth being dug from the centre with sharp sticks and stone tomahawks, and carried to the outside on small sheets of bark to form a mound or edging round the ring about two feet high. The circle itself was about forty or fifty feet across and was quite round. Then a road five feet wide was made from the circle running about six hundred yards to another smaller circle, just the same, but half the size.” (Petrie, Constance, Tom Petrie’s Reminiscence of Early Queensland, pp. 48,49)
Tom goes on to say that the remains of a ‘Kippa-Ring’ as we call it, may we still be seen near Humpybong. (Petrie, Constance, Tom Petrie’s Reminiscences of Early Queensland, p. 50)
The Kippa-Ring referred to by Tom Petrie was situated off Anzac Avenue in the vicinity of Boardman Road. In 1948 it was located on the southern side of Portion 215, Parish of Redcliffe, one chain from the road boundary and approximately 21 chains east of the Anzac Avenue turnoff and on the crest of a low sandy ridge partly cleared of timber.
According to an article in the Redcliffe Herald of 3 September 1953, "The ring was a large saucer-shaped depression in the ground. Here aborigines from miles around used to congregate for their rituals and ‘man-making ceremonies. Although overgrown with grass, the symmetrical excavation was clearly defined as one of the few remaining records of an almost vanished race. It has now been ploughed over and forms part of a farm cultivation."
As with many of the Redcliffe suburbs, the name Kippa-Ring has been in use since the early pioneer days. In those early days, the kippa-ring was still in evidence and was used as a point of reference so it was natural that even after the ring itself disappeared in the 1950s, the name would still be used to denote that area.
"In the old days Dr. Hobbs had his own track to Scarborough, turning in about three-quarters of a mile from the Saltwater Crossing, running across the Kipper Ring flats, then over the neck of the swamp between the Freshwater and the Kipper Ring, and so along to Scarborough. The old corduroy across the swamp neck is still there, and in use. It was formed of ti-tree saplings have gone to dust but the parts in the water and mud have been ebonised, and are as sound as the day they were put in, and that is well over 60 years ago." (Brown, Spencer, A Journalist’s Memories, Spencer Browne, 1927, p. 287)
The Queensland Place Names Board approved the naming of the suburbs for the city of Redcliffe in 1975.
"It’s Official: ‘Kippa-Ring’ new name
The Redcliffe area centred around the junction of Anzac and Elizabeth Avenues is now officially named ‘Kippa-Ring’.
In a letter read at the December meeting of Kippering Progress Association Redcliffe City Council advised that the new school erected in the area will be known as ‘Kippa-Ring State School’
The Queensland Place Names’ Board has told Redcliffe Council it had noted that the first approach for establishment of a new school came from the KPA and while the name of the district was approved by the Board, it would prefer to see the name spelt ‘Kippa-Ring’ in order to preserve the connotation with the with the aboriginal ceremony from which the name is derived." (Redcliffe Herald, December 17, 1959, p1.)