Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Queensland tradition of giving everything Aboriginal names after carefully removing all traces of Aboriginal from them is like Muslim extremists colonising Manhattan and renaming it
Twin Tower Tumble Island.


  1. It is the dreaded post-colonial fear of discovering later that the quirkily named Mypolonga actually means 'white man's bum hole' that's done it. And the fact that it's Queensland.

  2. This is common in WA as well. I like it. I think it's important to keep Aborginal words and language alive, tokenistic or not

  3. While it's nice to honour the original peoples of our great brown land, I do find Aboriginal names gosh-darned hard to pronounce. Perhaps a middle ground could be found. If the newly named place also had a dot painting or two, maybe a boomerang arch instead of the golden arches over the fast food place, everyone could be happy.

  4. Kath - Probably more the latter than the former.

    Squib - Being from SA, where we have almost all Anglo names for everything, I used to piss myself at every Aboriginal name around (particularly 'Burpengary' - I also used to think that 'Indooroopilly' was a bastardisation of 'Indoor' and 'Monopoly' designed to make people think shopping indoors until they were bankrupt was fun). But apart from noticing strange names and staying in an aboriginal community when I was 12, I have no connection with Aboriginal culture at all.

    River - McBush Tucker?

  5. I'm not sure that I am liking single sentence september. I have been offended twice already and we're only 3 days in....

  6. I'm with Squib on this one, yes for the cultural value, but also for getting rid of horribly boring names; like South Australia.
    Did they (the faceless namers)believe we are all so terribly stupid as to not be able to find our way about without giving everything functional names?

    'hmm getting home was so easy when it was called South Road, I haven't seen my family since the rebadging.'

  7. I grew up in Waikerie which is the Aboriginal word for "many wings" or something similar. It referred to the rain moths in the region that would hatch when it rained. This name has been used for over 110 years.

    I think it is similar for some other Riverland towns. Berri means big river bend.

    I wonder how many people know this though.

  8. Just remember if you take offense, the cows get out. Also, I lived in a town called Penguin, cos...like...there was some Penguins in it...tap...tap...is this thing on? Thank god we didn't have any dickfish in the water...

  9. Ninj - I always wondered about the wisdom of having South Road continue almost as far north of the city centre as it in its eponymous direction. Maybe the namers lived in Salisbury.

    Jacobs - That's kind of my whole point. I didn't know that. Never would have. I think naming places for the people who no longer live there as they once did ... doesn't sit right. Maybe the place names are all that remains, kind of like a nyah nyah nyah to the Aboriginals who still do live there.

    Miles - Is your fridge running?

  10. Too keep up with Jacobs - Naracoorte is a derivative of another word, Naracoot or something; which means flowing water. This was mainly due to the creek which is somewhat lacking in water these days.

  11. It is rather cringe-making when landmarks in the city of adelaide get plastered with an Aboriginal name.

    so... the EXACT SPOT of Victoria Square JUST HAPPENED to have this other name once... really... the EXACT SPOT... yeah right.

    White mans tokenism.

  12. Ashleigh - I KNOW! Victoria square is worse because not only was it the EXACT SPOT where cooroborees (sp?) were held or where men went to exchange cooking tips or climb trees or whatever, but they raised it to the fucking ground anyway! And put a statue up of the lady who helped them do it!

    Mele's Nonno tells a story about being a market gardener in the East End Markets for fifty years. Apparently when he started, Aboriginals everywhere. On the streets, in the parklands, working, walking, talking, laughing, etc. Then: "they disappeared, the government rounded 'em all up and shot 'em. Never saw another Aboriginal again."


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32