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.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Failford - Father Woods Broom

Failford v
To attempt unsuccessfully to cross a creek, river, etc, in the faint hope that the water won’t be too deep for your car.

Fairbank n
An oxymoron; a contradiction in terms. There was once a fair bank, back in the dim and distant past, but word spread about its fair dealings, and people came from far and wide, just to look at this marvellous institution. As a result, no work was ever done, as genuine customers couldn’t find their way through the crowds, and the bank had to close its doors forever. The lesson was learned in financial circles, that it was better to have disgruntled customers than no customers at all.

Fairhope n
Any casual punter placing a bet on a horse race etc, without having previously studied the racing form. This will not, however, significantly affect his chances of success.

False Island n
1. The premise upon which a miscreant child justifies its heinous action.
2. The branch upon which a novice tree-lopper sits, while attacking same with a saw.

Farleigh adj
Of the expression worn by someone being talked at by their spouse, about Aunty Doris’s latest health crisis.

Fassifern n
Fassifern is the unadventurous-looking greenery that is unfortunately and unceremoniously pulled out of the ground by someone ignorant of gardening, in the belief that it is an overenthusiastic weed. Sadly, it will have been planted some months before by someone else, and will likely have cost a small fortune at the local boutique garden centre. It will also have been due to flower within the following week.

Father Woods Broom n
A generic term for any tool that has been in the family for decades. No-one will remember where it came from, but Grandad will have used it as a boy, and the patina on its handle will be lovingly admired by anyone older than 50.

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