10 most ridiculous Australian place names
"I've been everywhere, man … I've been to Wollongong, Geelong, Kurrajong, Mullumbimby, Mittagong, Molong, Grong Grong, Goondiwindi … Cabramatta, Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta; what's it matter?"
So goes the classic Aussie song, "I've Been Everywhere,” written by Geoff Mack in 1959 and popularized by Lucky Starr in 1962.
But have they been to Useless Inlet, Foul Bay and Bong Bong?
These are not the kind of names that would automatically appeal to travelers, but exist they do.
Here are Australia’s 10 most ridiculous place names.
10. Nowhere Else, Tasmania and South Australia
The original Nowhere Else was a community near Devonport in Tasmania. But just to prove there’s really nothing in a name, a place on the Eyre Peninsula was named Nowhere Else, too.
Both places are much like each other. Like Nowhere Else. (Except Nowhere Else).
9. Useless Inlet, Western Australia
When Dutch sailor William Dampier landed on the Western Australian coast in the 17th century, he didn’t like it much at all. He named one part Hopeless Reach.
In 1801, two French explorers, Nicolas Thomas Baudin and Louis-Claude Desaules De Freycinet, didn’t like it much either when a sandbank blocked their harbor entry. They proclaimed it Useless Inlet.
Today, the inlet is part of an untouched wilderness environment. Useless?
8. Diapur, Victoria
Diapur was named after the black swans in the Wimmera region, Victoria, and not the undergarments worn by most of us before being toilet trained.
On the halfway mark of the Melbourne-Adelaide railway, it's a good place for a restroom visit.
The old railway town formerly had its own football side that even won a premiership in 1910. Go, Diapurs!
7. Bong Bong, New South Wales
The most famous “bong” in Australia is the one that mainly teenagers make from a bottle and hose to smoke grass. But the first bong was a double: Bong Bong was settled in the highlands southwest of Sydney in 1817.
It actually means "mosquitoes buzzing" in the local Aboriginal tongue.
And, so it goes, travelers can attend the Christ Church Bong Bong and stay at the Bong Bong Motel -- and listen to mosquitoes, whether real or not.
The name also lives on for the Bong Bong Picnic Races held in November.
6. Foul Bay, South Australia
Matthew Flinders may well have been the first sailor to circumnavigate the continent, and he also suggested calling it Australis. What he said back then lives on today.
As does his curse at a bay at Yorke Peninsula when he couldn’t anchor: Foul Bay. Oops.
5. Loos, South Australia
Australians did their best to distance themselves from a history of free German settlers when fighting for the “Mother Country” in World War I. German names were abandoned. Such as Buchsfelde.
But in the locals' desperate bid to distance themselves from the Lutheran population, they seemingly couldn’t decide between Waterloo and Woolloomooloo, so went for them both.
Goes to show, when you try and please everyone, it ends up sounding like, well, poo.
4. Disappointment Hill, Western Australia
Explorer Fran Hann climbed a hill in 1903 to find no water and was disappointed. Thus Disappointment Hill.
And the poor old hill is still that: the closest town to the hill, Laverton, is over 100 kilometers away.
3. Yorkeys Knob, Queensland
It mightn’t sound it, but just north of Cairns, surrounded by the Great Barrier Reef and World Heritage rainforests, Yorkeys Knob is a bit of a paradise.
It was named after an English fisherman (yep, Yorkey) who lived on a rocky hill (that’s a knob).
Locals have fought against name changes –- maybe to keep tourists away?
2. Woop Woop, Western Australia
Colloquially, Woop Woop means the middle of nowhere. It’s defined as "a remote and supposedly backward rural town or district."
Woop Woop was a mill town southeast of Perth that came into existence in 1925, before being abandoned and sold for scrap in 1984.
So now it really is in the middle of nowhere.
1. Come By Chance, New South Wales
A bunch of pastoralists stumbled upon this land in northern New South Wales in 1817, on their way to somewhere else. In time, a town grew up here, and it's now home to 187 people.
Australia’s most famed poet, Banjo Paterson, wrote in his ballad "Come-by-Chance":
"But my languid mood forsook me, when I found a name that took me,
Quite by chance I came across it — `Come-by-Chance' was what I read;
No location was assigned it, not a thing to help one find it,
Just an N which stood for northward, and the rest was all unsaid."