Coolamon in the cosmos: Anil Fred’s homage to Australia’s lunar rover naming quest

By Our Reporter
Anil Fred. Pic supplied

Bridging the world of cultural heritage and space exploration, Anil Fred emerges as a key figure in Australia’s journey to the moon. His entry, ‘Coolamon’, resonates with deep cultural significance, securing a spot among the final four in the prestigious competition to name Australia’s Lunar Rover. This initiative, spearheaded by the Australian Space Agency, symbolises a major leap in Australia’s space exploration efforts, with the lunar mission set for 2026.

The naming competition, which captured the imagination of over 8,200 participants from various corners of Australia, including schools and individuals, has now reached a pivotal phase. The judges, after meticulous deliberation, have shortlisted just four names from a vast array of submissions. The decision now rests in the hands of the Australian public, who are bestowed with the privilege of casting their vote to select the most fitting name for the rover.

Anil Fred, expressing his honour and gratitude for this recognition, said, “Being one of the finalists among such a large number of entrants is absolutely an honour. The inspiration for my entry is deeply rooted in the intricate cultural and historical fabric of Australia.” This acknowledgment is a testament to Fred’s profound respect and understanding of the country’s diverse cultural legacy.


The cornerstone of Fred’s inspiration is the Coolamon, an artefact of immense significance in Indigenous Australian culture. This traditional item, far more than a mere tool, is a symbol of nurturing, wisdom, and a deep connection with the land. The Coolamon epitomises a legacy of knowledge, respect, and care for the community and environment – values that Fred deeply resonates with.

Fred’s vision extends beyond just a name; it’s a celebration of cultural fusion and progress. He elaborates, “Naming the rover ‘Coolamon’ is not only a tribute to the Aboriginal people of Australia but also a nod to the timeless traditions that enrich our nation. It’s a bridge between the ancient and the modern, honouring both the Indigenous heritage and the spirit of exploration and discovery.”

This competition is more than just a naming ceremony; it’s a platform to acknowledge and celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity. The potential naming of the rover as ‘Coolamon’ offers a unique opportunity to pay homage to the Aboriginal people and the depth of their heritage, encouraging a collective journey towards understanding and unity.

The public’s involvement in this decision is crucial. Australians have the opportunity to shape a significant chapter in the country’s space history. The voting period remains open until 11:59 PM (AEDT) on Friday, December 1, 2023, inviting everyone to participate and make their mark on this historic occasion. The anticipation builds towards the announcement of the winning name, scheduled for Wednesday, December 6, 2023.

Reflecting the seamless integration of tradition and modernity, Anil Fred’s proposal, ‘Coolamon’, stands as a symbol of inclusivity and respect. This initiative transcends the simple act of naming a space rover; it represents Australia’s commitment to cherishing and embedding its rich cultural heritage into its forward-looking narratives. The voyage of ‘Coolamon’ into space marks a significant step towards fostering greater unity and cultural consciousness across Australia.

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