Friday, April 17, 2009

Weird Aussie Place Names

I guess all countries have some weird place names. Australia has a combination of English names and Aboriginal names. Then there is the absurd, like Sydney's Woolloomooloo, perhaps also an Aboriginal name, but I bet they did not spell it like that. You may read the name Woolloomooloo many times, but how long does it take for the spelling to sink in. It never has for me. The 'Loo is a lot easier.

Another odd place name in Sydney is Wisemans Ferry. No connection but I liken it to the US Marthas Vineyard. How about Field of Mars, also in Sydney? I did look this one up once, but I forget why it is called such.

Let us look at the small Aussie island state, Tasmania. Perhaps I am ignorant, but I have no possible idea where the name of Bicheno came from, a town on the east coast of Tasmania. The emphasis goes on the first syllable. Bicheno is a beautiful spot. Check out a daily picture here. But Tassie also has a place called Jericho, along with a Bagdad and a Tiberias.

I could look them up I suppose and find out why they are called such, but I won't. I am happy in my ignorance.

Any place names that make you stop and think for a second?


  1. Tassie does have a lot of oddly branded towns.

    Penguin, Jerusalem, Nile, Waterloo etc.

    Of course my favourite odd country town name is just out of Bendigo. (From which we returned but 2 hours ago ... courtesy of Vicrail.)

    The charming hamlet of Sedgwick, wherein I tried to enforce my droit de seigneur but the livestock were having nothing of it. (I blame the Bolsheviks!)

  2. New York has quite mix of names, Dutch, Anglo and Native American, which is which I'm never sure, there's the Tappan Zee bridge, Tappan,an American Indian place name, and of course we all know zee is Dutch for sea....Yonkers, quite a strange name, is just north of the Bronx, Adirondack mountains, how to pronounce I'm never sure, there is a Poughkeepsie, very strange name indeed. Some pronouncations are different, Houston(hoo-ston)is in Texas and Houston(how-ston)is quite a busy st downtown where SoHo is south of, tourist will invariably say Hoo-ston.

    Back in Australia there is Moonee Ponds, I once read is the only place in Australia with an Aboriginal Anglo joined name. Correct, I'm not sure?

    In Sydney there is a Charing Cross, just up the hill from Bronte beach, for some reason I always think that one a little strange, I guess it's a world away from London's.

  3. Not such a strange name, but a place I've always wanted to visit is "Rainbow" in North West Victoria. Just sounds like such a nice place....

  4. Jericho, Tasmania is on the Jordan River (much less a river at the moment as a shallow depression in a paddock), not sure which came first but I'm sure the first influenced the other.

    One of my favourites is the absolutely inscrutable Tomahawk, on Tassie's north-east coast...

  5. There is a suburb in Perth called 'Innaloo' and a municipality called the 'City of Cockburn'.

  6. I'm always confused by Balaclava which I associate with Europe and battles.

  7. Likewise Victor. As lad who spent most of his youth in the Western District of Victoria, the village of Mafeking was a mystery.

    I was surrounded by lots of bores, but not a boer to be seen.

  8. "I'm always confused by Balaclava which I associate with Europe and battles."OTOH Victor, I always associate that with Seven Eleven and Crime Stoppers.

  9. I've always been facinated by the name of the suburb called CBD. I wish we could have more abbreviated suburb names.

    1. CBD stands for 'Central Business District'. Every city has one, it's not a town, it's just a reference to the main part of town.

    2. VBS, not happy with the simplicity of CBD, some politicians and councillors want to call it CAD, Central Activities District.

  10. If memory serves, the Field of Mars was an area in ancient Rome where war heroes were paraded for public adoration...or something. Exactly how that equates with its counterpart in Sydney I couldn't hazard a guess.

  11. "If memory serves, the Field of Mars was an area in ancient Rome where war heroes were paraded for public adoration...or something. Exactly how that equates with its counterpart in Sydney I couldn't hazard a guess."OTOH.If memory serves, 'Life on Mars' was an area in British television ...or something. Exactly how that equates with its counterpart in America (notwithstanding that usually fine performer Harvey Keitel) I couldn't hazard a guess.OTOH (How many hands do I have .. hairy palms aside.)

    At least they haven't tried to appropriate and insanguinate Dennis Potter.

    "The Singing Detective" meets "Pop Idol Colombo"

    Or have they, while I wasn't looking?

  12. I remember the photo of you and Mrs Lord Sedgers and the sign. Definitely a Middle Eastern theme happening.

    There are some classics there Ian. Yonkers made famous by Hello Dolly.

    Me, a local settlement originally of North American Indians?

    Aaron, what might be the favourite recreational activity of the male residents of the City of Cockburn?

    Victor the whole area of Balaclava and St Kilda is littered with such names. Alma Rd, Inkerman Road, Crimea Street and so on. There is also an area in Camberwell with similar.

    Well done Reuben!!!

    Brian, I seem to recall the Sydney one had a very large open recreational area.

    Singing Detective never gets a rerun LS. Love to see it again. But no, not on DVD.

  13. Raelene, my mother was interested to see Rainbow too. I think she and my step father did.

  14. the caulfield street named 'belsen' needs to be changed,

    bad vibes man.

    my favorite australian place name is

    Coochiemudlo island.

  15. Winninninnie Creek. South Australia.

  16. Upper Kumbukta West used to feature on Hey Hey in it's heyday.

  17. With their correspondent Mrs McGillicuddy, Brownie , and her window dressing lad Robert.
    Must admit to missing the Biddelonian Pigmies....though I swear they moved in under my daughter's bed when she was a horror teen :P

    Go the MIGHTY Poowong Magpies!

    CJ Dennis wrote a poem for kiddies like yourself, Andrew, to recall the spelling of Woolloomooloo -
    Here's a ridiculous riddle for you:
    How many o's are there in Woolloomooloo?
    Two for the W, two for the m,
    Four for the l's, and that's plenty for them.

  18. I can't see a street called Belsen in Caulfield Ann. Coochiemudlo is just plain weird.

    Msilsby, I had to sound that out like I was at primary school.

    Upper Kambukta West was somewhere near Bendigo I think Ann.

    I always thought it should be a longer and more frequent segment on the show Jayne. What a great little rhyme. Btw, you spelt The 'Loo wrongly.

  19. Coolangatta was claimed by the local PC groups around abouts a few years back as being an aboriginal name...till it was remembered by historians that an irish ship the Coolangatta sank off the coase thereabouts in times past

    Also there was a fight over the name Bellingen (NSW) again it was claimed by newcomers who thought they knew that it was an Aboriginal tribe...turns out one of the first families there were wine makers fro a place called bellingen In germany...

    My mother came from a town called Rouchel (NSW) the same twit brigade tried to claim it came from some french name but again it came from a plainer name "Ruck Hill" Its good fun when you find out the truth of the origons, far more interesting than trying to gloss up a place.

  20. Different angle on it MC. Lol at Rouchel.

  21. Anonymous9:39 am

    I was a rep for a machinery company and travelled most of south eastern australia. I travelled through a lot of little towns with odd names but the one that sticks in my mind as my Fav is Gulargumbone. NSW. Blink and you will miss it but its quiet, friendly and the Corrigated Gahlah's that greet you at each end of the town definaltly make it memorable!!

  22. Like a young kid, I had to sound the name out. I had to take a look at Corrugated Gahlahs. The are quite good and preferable to the big galah found elsewhere.