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Name games

Sami Muirhead reflects on silly place names around Australia as she gears up to celebrate Australia Day.

Given the global pandemic, more than ever we have reason to be thankful and proud of our beautiful country. Our history does have stains, but I love our country and you will find us eating lamingtons and meat pies in our togs this Australia Day.

I always tell my kids we live in the best country in the world and I am pretty sure this phrase often falls on deaf but tanned little ears usually submerged in waves or covered in sand.

I had my ‘thankful to live in Australia’ moment early when our family had a blissful week in the Whitsundays. The highlight was a trip to Whitehaven Beach. We played cricket in silky sand and ate sausages in bread and drank ice-cold beer and chilled cans of Kirk’s Pasito.

We were surrounded by turquoise clear water filled with the world’s deadliest creatures including Irukandji jellyfish. I quite like our list of deadly and exotic animals. They provide shock and awe tales for us all. And the sand. So white. Whitehaven really is a white haven. Captain Cook got it right with this name, but how often did our explorers mess things up with the name game?

In Queensland alone we have Bootie Island, Bushy Island and Booby Island. In Tasmania you will find Lovely Bottom, Prickly Bottom, and Ding Dong Rainforest. And what a bunch of knobs we have in this fine country. I could make a politician joke here, but that would be far too easy pickings. There is of course Bald Knob here on the Coast, and Peculiar Knob and Prominent Knob are in South Australia.

The knob list is endless in Australia, with Red Knob and Scrubby Knob found in Queensland. Our state is also home to Naughty Girl Creek and Saucebottle Swamp. New South Wales is home to Mount Great Groaner and Flirtation Hill.

So back to Whitehaven. There were a lot of young tourists wearing skimpy G-strings, but I played by the rules and wore a full-body lycra stinger suit complete with hood to protect myself against the Irukandji jellyfish.  I was channelling Matt Damon and James Bond until a stranger came up to me and said “You look just like a Telly Tubby.” I would like that stranger to buy a one-way ticket to Stinkhole or Pisspot Creek, which are both in Tasmania.


Sami Muirhead is a radio announcer, blogger and commentator. For more from Sami tune into Mix FM.

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