Inspired the classic Aussie song I’ve Been Everywhere, Man’, writer Daniel Scott travelled across our wide brown land and discovered some of the most unusual and down-right funny place names Australia has to offer.
The song that inspired Daniel Scott’s travel off the beaten path and into Aussie towns, settlements and suburbs with some of the strangest and most heinous place names ever on record, goes a little something like this:
“I’ve been everywhere, man. I’ve been to Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Molong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi, Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta; what’s it matter?”
Luckily for us, Scott found a few more and even went to the effort of delving into the background of these weird and wacky Australian names for NineMSN‘s travel channel. Here are some of his top picks.
1: Bong Bong, NT
Scott said he found out that Bong Bong means “mosquitoes buzzing” in an Aboriginal dialect.
2: Blighty, NSW
Scott recognises that Bong Bong won in a coin toss over Blighty in NSW – which he also found pretty weird.
3: Come By Chance, NSW
Come By Chance was immortalised in a poem by Banjo Patterson. Come By Chance is a small settlement in north-western New South Wales, says Scott. He adds that, according to research, Come By Chance got its name from “pastoralists who happened upon a large vacant block, while en route somewhere else.
4: Cockburn, WA
Cockburn is a town in Western Australia. The story goes that Cockburn got its name from Admiral Sir George Cockburn. Sir George was born in London in 1772 and was a renowned British naval officer, eventually becoming Admiral of the Fleet and First Sea Lord. Do Aussies know that in the UK there are many Cockburns, and it is pronounced Co-bern’ there (I wonder why)?
5: Diapur, Victoria
Sounding like something a baby might wear, Diapur, in Victoria’s Wimmera region, just beat Dunedoo in New South Wales on Scott’s list as Australia’s oddest sounding place beginning with “D”. It is said that Diapur was named for the area’s black swans.
6: Foul Bay, SA
Navigator Matthew Flinders named a bay in South Australia Foul Bay in 1802 when the ship he was on had a hard time finding solid anchorage, “This bay on the Yorke Peninsula is far nicer than its moniker suggests, says Scott.
7: Gingin, WA
Now this is my kind of town! But before you grab the tonic water, Gingin is a town north of Perth and means place of many streams’ in an Aboriginal dialect.
8: Humpybong, Qld
Scott says that Humpybong means dead shelters’ and was named so after British settlers abandoned the area choosing to settle in Brisbane instead. The empty huts left behind were known as humpies’
9: Jimcumbilly, NSW
Scott described Jimcumbilly as a “tiny settlement and disused railway station located near Bombala, inland from the New South Wales south coast.
10: Knuckey Lagoon, NT
While this might sound like an age restricted adult party, Knuckey is in fact a wildlife reserve near Darwin.
11: Loos, SA
Scott says that while this town was originally named Buchsfelde by Germans it was “considered offensive during World War I so they came up with this much better alternative.
12: Mount Buggery, Victoria
In Victoria you will come across Mount Buggery. According to Wikipedia, “There is circumstantial evidence that the mountain was named by a member of the Melbourne Walking Club who, during 1934, hiked along the Buckland-Buffalo watershed to Mount Selwyn, and then onto the Barry Mountains to Mount Speculation, followed the Crosscut Saw to Mount Howitt and finished at Merrijig via the Howqua River. Other members of the hiking party and within the Melbourne Walking Club started using the name and it eventually appeared on maps and official acceptance followed.
13: Nowhere Else, Tasmania & SA
Daniel Scott tells of Nowhere Else near Devonport in north-western Tasmania saying, “there really is nowhere else, like Nowhere Else. But he adds, he was mistaken and quickly corrected by locals who have pointed out, a place called Nowhere Else can be found on the Eyre Peninsula in SA too!
14: Rooty Hill, NSW
While your imagination can run wild as to why this western Sydney suburb was named Rooty Hill, disappointingly, says Scott, the hill was named when flood waters running down the hill’s slope exposed tree roots. Governor King came up with the name in 1802. These days, a mention of Rooty Hill to any Sydneysider is likely to be met with dour or guilty looks as they recall a night out at the suburb’s infamous RSL club… possibly even living up to the name’s more modern, lurid Aussie connotation.
15: Tom Ugly, NSW
Scott says that, “Tom Ugly Point, near Sylvania in Sydney’s south, is named after an Aboriginal Australian who lived in a rock shelter in this area during the mid-19th century. His nickname was said to be ironic as he was a strong, handsome fellow.
16: Yorkeys Knob, Queensland
Yorkeys Knob sounds completely obscene, but Yorkeys Knob, just north of Cairns, was named after a fisherman from Yorkshire, George Yorkey Lawson.