A Sideways Glance at the Hidden Meaning of Aussie Place Names

There are many place names around the world that cry out to tell you their true meaning. Well, perhaps not their ridgey didge true meaning, but who has ever looked at the name Footscray and not felt that it probably also exists as an entry in a medical dictionary? Or Patchewollock, or Humpty Doo? Exactly.

This work attempts to do for (or to) Australian place names what Douglas Adams and John Lloyd did for Britain and the rest of the world, in The Meaning of Liff and The Deeper Meaning of Liff.

Words by Duncan Waldron, illustrations by Matt Davis.

Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence.


See Why am I doing this? for something approaching a motive.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Agnes Water - Aminungo

Agnes Water n
The unsavoury contents of a vase, when the flowers are a week past their best.

To insist that you knew something before being told it, despite being caught out in your ignorance.

Airey’s Inlet n
The safest and fastest route through tightly packed customers, to the bar. Discovered in 1897 by someone later passed over for a place in Scott’s Antarctic expedition; it is named after the man standing beside him who, ironically, was served first.

Airville n
The residence of any minor celebrity who has found immense fortune through being able to wear lurid make-up and mime to recordings.

Alawoona n
An exaggerated display of being overcome with astonishment, as carried out by toddlers, teenagers and the perpetually guilty.

Alice Springs n
In a mattress, those springs that, no matter how the mattress is turned, always poke through on the husband’s side. cf Ban Ban Springs.

Allen’s Rivulet n
The moment when beads of sweat down the back turn into a continuous flow, while cutting the grass in high summer.

Alligator Creek n
The unique sound of a badly-fitting false limb, acquired after a tropical swimming accident.

Alloway adj
Descriptive of a traveller’s misplaced confidence in being on the right road.

Almoola adj
Of a person obsessed with amassing great personal wealth, but with no clear intention to spend or share any of it whatsoever.

Aloomba n
The noise made by a 120-kilo person bouncing on a trampoline, in an echo chamber.

Allpurrurulam adj
Descriptive of a cat that is so loudly expressing its deep pleasure from a tickle under the chin, that you could hack off one of its legs without it noticing.

Alyangula n
The physical awkwardness of a teenager who is growing at an unfeasible rate.


Amby adj
Of a person who pretends to be uninterested in the topic of discussion, but who for their own peculiar reason, is hiding a torrent of emotion about it.

Aminungo n
A person who wavers between deciding to take a bungee jump or parachute death-leap for the first time, but always pulls back at the last moment, rigid with fear.

No comments: