The North Pole is located a short distance from Marble Bar, the hottest place in inland Australia. Siberia is near Kalgoorlie, with an average summer temperature of 35C. Australian humour is not complicated. And when you colonise a land that is almost the size of Europe, it’s easy to run out of names.
Which is possibly why there are so many bottoms in Tasmania.
Australia’s weird place names should be celebrated, if only so they don’t come as a shock next time you hear them read out on an ABC emergency broadcast.
However some, like Suicide Bay and Victory Hill in Tasmania, named by the workers of the Van Diemen’s Land Company to celebrate the massacre of 30 Aboriginal people, should be recognised only as a reminder of a brutal past. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Corporation in 2017 lobbied to have those places renamed in palawa kani: Suicide Bay would be luwuka, Victory Hill called timuk and an island called Niggerhead Rock would be karanutung. The name changes have not been made official
Queensland has renamed seven places that used the N-word. Western Australia has renamed the King Leopold Ranges the Wunaamin Miliwundi Ranges, removing the name of the genocidal Belgian king in favour of the name given to the landscape in the local Ngarinyin and Bunuba languages.
Other place names just betray an explorer’s frustration. For example, what would you call a recently discovered cave? Well It Wasn’t There Last Year.
We’ve compiled a list of some of the oddest Australian place names. Please add others in the comments!
The footballers: Joel Joel and Joel South, Victoria. Keith and Bruce, South Australia.
No, not that one: Texas and Cleveland, Queensland. Bagdad, Tasmania. Majorca, Victoria. Perth, Tasmania. Antwerp, Victoria. Brighton, Tasmania, SA, Victoria and WA. Andover, Tasmania. Waterloo, Tasmania. Malaga, WA. Harrogate, SA. Toronto, NSW. London Lakes, Tasmania. North Pole and Siberia, WA.
Grub’s up: Eggs and Bacon Bay, Tasmania. Sausage Gully, Onion Bay, and Gruyere, Victoria. Saucebottle Swamp, Queensland.
We’re not mad, we’re just disappointed: Useless Loop, Useless Inlet, Hard to Find Dam, Point Torment, Disaster Bay, and Woop Woop, WA. Break-me-neck Hill, Bust-me-gut Hill, Bust Me Gall, Dismal Swamp, Horrible Hollow Gully and Nowhere Else, all Tasmania. Mount Great Groaner, NSW. Mount Buggery and Mount Disappointment, Victoria. Mount Mistake and Ugly Creek, Queensland. Rubbish Cave and Bullshit Hill, SA.
We’re not disappointed at all: Most Remarkable Blowhole, SA.
It’s been a long day: Nevertire, Nap Nap (a Madi Madi word meaning very swampy) and Goodnight, all NSW.
The bottoms: Lovely Bottom, Prickly Bottom, Deep Bottom, Officers Bottom, Broad Bottom, Bottom Fancy, Boomers Bottom, Round Bottom, Stumpys Bottom, Lake Fanny, Bottom Lagoon, The Butts, and Butt of Liberty, all Tasmania. Fannie Bay, Northern Territory. Break Wind Reserve, Backstairs Passage, Bumcooler Flat No1. and No.2, all SA.
The tops: The Nipples, Mossy Nipple Bend and Breasted Sugarloop, Tasmania. The Boobs, NSW. Mount Breast, Queensland. White Breasted Airport, SA.
The knobs: Blueys Knob, Quality Knobs, Booner Knob, Two Mile Knob, Red Knob, Scrubby Knob, Cleanskin Knob and Jerking Creek, Queensland. Misery Nob and Funny Nob Creek, and Pinnacle Knob Tasmania. Spanker Knob, Victoria. Delicate Knobby, NSW. Prominent Knob, Peculiar Nob, Southern Jerk Island and Cock Wash, SA.
Send your complaints to the Tasmanian board of nomenclature: No No Hole, Humongous Hole, Guys Dirty Hole, Pensioners Bush, Tonguers Point and Kockup, Tasmania.
Ditto, NSW: Rooty Hill, Flirtation Hill, and Pleasure Point.
Isn’t that that guy? Awesome Wells, Tasmania.
It’s a name if you make it a name: Other Side Of the Moon, WA. Deep Thought, Tasmania. Come by Chance, NSW. Broken Nose and Seventeen Seventy (1770 to locals, named for the year Captain James Cook stepped off the boat), Queensland. Well it Wasn’t There Last Year, SA.
Dante’s Australia: Satan’s Lair, Hellfire Bluff, and Paradise, Tasmania. Little Hell, Tasmania and SA. Purgatory Hill, NSW.