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.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Haast’s Bluff - Hampden

Haast’s Bluff n
(1) An obsolete term, describing the action of someone who was one of the first to own a mobile phone, talking in a loud and animated fashion, in a conspicuous location, with no-one on the other end. cf Rabbit Island.
(2) The pretence that you have understood the travel directions just given to you while on holiday in a foreign country. 50 percent of the time it won’t matter anyway, as the other person will have misunderstood your question, and will just have explained the best method of catching the local seafood delicacy.

Hadspen n
A ball-point or similar pen that seems still to have ink in it, but refuses to write. Banks and Post Offices are required by law to provide at least one Hadspen for public use.

Hagley n
A disreputable stall-holder in a busy weekend market, who tries to avoid giving change under the pretence that he has lost track of who he was serving.

Haines Saddle n
The process of silently justifying your not giving up a seat to a needier person. In the process you only increase your feelings of guilt, to the point that it becomes a matter of principle that you remain precisely where you are.

Half Moon Flat n
A puncture suffered after dusk, when it is still light enough to see the wheel and operate the jack, but too dark to find the wheel nuts that you just kicked into the grass verge.

Halifax n
The bloody-minded determination of a person not to answer the phone in their lunch-hour, because that’s the only real power they enjoy.

Hallora n
A hearty back-slapping greeting in the pub, given by someone who enjoys making a great show of how many wonderful friends they have. Osteopaths and chiropractors are always grateful for the business generated by repeated Halloras.

Hampden n
The grubby mess that accumulates around and under sofas, TVs etc, from the relaxed eating habits of toddlers.


Nat said...

Hi Duncan

I just love this! You so aptly described human idiosyncrasy at its most vulnerable. My favorite is "Halifax", truly hiarious!

Duncan said...

Thanks nat - it's just an affliction I have ;-)