WATANOBBI has been voted Australia’s “most unfortunate” place-name, in poll for findmypast.com.au, with NSW named the top state for unfortunate place names.
Watanobbi beat Nowhere Else, Eggs and Bacon Bay, Bong Bong, Burpengary and Waa Waa … but there were no prizes for Burrumbuttock, Wonglepong or Humpty Doo.
“In the course of researching their family history, people can discover that their ancestors came from somewhere with an unlikely, unfortunate or downright embarrassing name,” family historian and spokesperson for findmypast.com.au Emma Kelly said.
“It’s not necessarily the worst thing you might find when tracing your family history, but some people may be stunned to discover that their ancestors came from somewhere called Watanobbi or Eggs and Bacon Bay.”
Findmypast.com.au and its partner sites asked customers in seven English-speaking countries (Australia, UK, U.S., Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa) to pick from its own shortlist of “unfortunate” Australian place-names.
“You can judge the strength of the short-list from the quality of the names that failed to make it,” Ms Kelly said. “These included Burrumbuttock (NSW) Wonglepong (Queensland) and Humpty Doo (now better known as Redcliffe, Queensland). This is not to mention Useless Inlet, Foul Bay and Dismal Swamp.”
Nowhere Else in Tasmania bagged second place, ahead of Eggs and Bacon Bay (Tasmania) in third and Bong Bong (NSW) fourth.
Next came Burpengary (Queensland) in fifth and Wee Waa (Queensland) sixth.
Watanobbi is a suburb of the Central Coast area of NSW. The origins of its name are unclear but the Geographic Names Board says that, contrary to some claims, they are not Aboriginal.
They may, on the other hand, trace back to the observations of an early landowner named Alan Chapman who remarked on the “nobby” shape of the local landscape.
“We describe these names as ‘unfortunate,” Ms Kelly said. “But they are also, in a way, sort of wonderful and part of what makes Australia special.”
Meanwhile, a similar findmypast poll focusing on UK place names has been topped by such real-life UK place-names as Shitterton, Scratchy Bottom and Broken Wind.
“Most Unfortunate” Australian Place-Names: Six of The Best
1 Watanobbi (NSW)
2 Nowhere Else (Tasmania)
3 Eggs and Bacon Bay (Tasmania)
4. Bong Bong (New South Wales)
5. Burpengary (Queensland)
6. Wee Waa (NSW)
“Most Unfortunate” UK Place-Names: Six of the Best
1 Shitterton (Dorset)
2 Scratchy Bottom (Dorset)
3 Brokenwind (Aberdeenshire)
4 Crapstone (Devon)
5 Golden Balls (Oxfordshire)
6 Ugley (Essex)
“Most Unfortunate” U.S. Place-Names: Six of the Best
1 Toad Suck (Arkansas)
2 Climax (Georgia)
3 Boring (both Oregon & Maryland)
4 Hooker (Oklahoma)
5 Assawoman (Maryland)
6 Belchertown (Massachusetts)
What are your favourites? comment here.