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.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Borroloola - Burdekin’s Gap

Borroloola n
The act of borrowing a pen, stapler, etc, from a colleague, and conveniently forgetting to return it. cf Penwortham.

Bothwell n
The general term for any accumulation of detritus, debris, or neglected possessions, that tend to inhabit tight spaces. Examples of Bothwell include mangled paper clips in the back corners of desk drawers, matted grass cuttings under the mower, or paper tissues left in a trouser pocket before being washed. Vintage Bothwell may occasionally be found in the pockets of jackets purchased from charity shops. To be of any commercial value, Bothwell must be from the Iron Age or earlier.

Bribie Island n
The moment of isolation, when a public figure has been implicated in a sleazy corruption scandal and stands alone in the full glare of voracious media exposure, his accomplices having quietly slipped away.

Brimboal n
The ancient and delicate art of carrying more than 43 items in a hand basket while shopping, without either dropping any or gouging someone else’s bare leg with the corner of a box of cornflakes. Brimboal is usually unplanned in its execution, with the shopper usually going in for just 5 or 6 items, then remembering another 40 or so on the way. The desire to go back for a trolley instead is always resisted, and the shopper continues until each arm in turn has been stretched almost to its limits, before finally reaching the checkout.

Buckenderra n
The point in the life of a person beyond which there is insufficient time to read all of the books they own, given a natural life expectancy. This point may be anywhere between 14 and 87 years, depending on the content of their library.

Bugaldie n
An unnatural interest in brass musical instruments.

Bungowannah n
The burning desire, when left alone in any room in which a tea cosy is available, to try it on.

Burdekin’s Gap n
The ratio between the amount of time spent avoiding a job, and the time that would be taken to actually do it.

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