You’ll find some strange and wonderful landmarks and places around Australia. Google insists that all of these places are real and not mythical, like BrisVegas and Ballafornia. You can find them all scattered across the ochre-colored landscape that we call Australia’s outback.
Useless Loop, WA
Henri-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet named Useless Loop on Nicolas Baudin’s expedition in 1801-1803. (Not to be confused with Louis-Claude de Saulces de Freycinet, his more famous brother and navigator). Henri-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet, a Frenchman who was impatient, named it “Havre Inutile”, meaning Useless Harbour. This is because a large bar of sand prevented any boat from entering. But he wasn’t right!
Useless Loop’s cove has been converted into a solar-powered salt farm, which offers the world only the best quality salt. That’ll learn ya, Henri-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet!
Come by Chance, NSW
George and William Colless, who live in Pilliga, NSW, were delighted to find a large, vacant block while on their way to somewhere else more promising. They were also able buy it. The two men had to adopt the name Come By Chance. It grew from a station into a small town, which eventually added a racing club.
Wee Waa NSW
The cotton industry was born in Australia at this small town, which is located on the banks the Namoi River. Wee Waa’s Aboriginal meaning is anything but tranquil and chilly, given that the area appears to be covered in a white Christmas-like blanket of cotton blossoms by April. Ironically, it is “Fire for Roasting”.
Chinamans Knob VIC & NSW
A group of do-gooders, huddled in a government-funded office, is planning to eliminate our most offensive place names. Not one but two Chinamans’ Knobs would rank near the top!
They’ll need to work hard. Geoscience Australia reports that there are 364 places with the name Chinaman, and 624 with Knob. Do you still not believe us?
The Gunbarrel Highway (NT, SA & WA)
Many stories have been told about how the Gunbarrel Highway came to be named. It was not least due to marauding bands robbing settlers under gunpoint. The highway was also the main access point for weaponizing the Woomera Atomic Testing Facility in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Gunbarrel Highway was named by Len Beadell. He liked to draw double straight lines to maximize fuel economy and joked about calling his team the “Gunbarrel Construction Company”. The name stuck.
Marvel Loch, WA
Australia’s passion for punts has never been more evident. Marvel Loch, a small outback town, is not located near any lake, river, or body of water. Marvel Loch was founded in 1906 as a mining community and named after the horse that won the Caulfield Cup race of 1905.
It’s rare that a place has been named so inaccurately. You’re likely to be disappointed if you bring your skis or snowboard here. You can forget the mountains and also the fluffy white stuff.
This typical country town, however, is situated in the middle a fertile, flat wheat plain. The then Governor of the State named it after Thomas Snow on a whim in 1878. Again, nepotism is to blame.
Monkey Mia WA
How is it possible that a town known for its dolphins would be named after monkeys? It’s clear that “Mia”, the Aboriginal word for shelter or home, is used in the area. But after that things get murky. Some people believe that it was named after a schooner, Monkey, which may or may not have been moored at the bay.
Some believe that it is a local pastoralist’s slang term for sheep. Monkey Mia was named by a pet monkey that Malay Pearlers brought to work. AT will continue to search for wild monkeys on the hills around the city, whatever the truth. Just in case.
1. Running Jump Creek, Vic
2. Little Mount Horror, Tas
3. Scented Knob, WA
4. Wanka Creek, Qld
5. Fiddletown, NSW
6. Bong Bong, Qld & NSW
7. Greg Greg, NSW
8. Big Dick Bore, WA
9. Dead Cat Gully, NSW
10. Linger And Die Hill, NSW