Australia’s weird place names – Part 2

CONFUSING, unusual and downright funny place names like Humpty Doo, Grong Grong and Ozenkadnook often leave visitors to Australia scratching their heads. Here is the second part in the series of Australia’s weird place names.

Pic: Mattinbgn,

Gin Gin, Queensland
It might sound like people had such a penchant for liquor they used it, twice, in the name of their town, but the name comes from a local Aboriginal word meaning “red soil thick scrub”. Gin Gin is located in central Queensland near Bundaberg, where interestingly enough they do produce a lot of rum, but in Gin Gin sugar cane is the main produce and cattle farming is a significant part of the local economy as well.

Pic: SatuSuro,

Useless Loop, Western Australia
Anyone that dubbed their town “useless” surely can’t have thought much of it. But Useless Loop has actually won a number of awards for its animal protection programs. Today the town located in Shark Bay, Western Australia is actually entirely owned by Shark Bay Salt who produce and harvest salt from large evaporative lagoons here which is really not so useless after all. Rather the word useless, or inutile, was bestowed by a French explorer who thought the harbour was blocked by a sandbar.


Doo Town, Tasmania
In Doo town they get things done. Or at least they are good at giving their houses name plaques contain “Doo” in it. There’s “Love Me Doo”, “Doo Little”, “This Will Doo”, “Doo Come In”… you get the idea. The town itself is located at Pirate’s Bay in Tasmania and has some pretty spectacular coastal areas nearby.

Ozenkadnook, Victoria
It might sound like the kind of noise you make when you blow your nose but it’s actually a real place and like many unusual Australian names it has Aboriginal origins. In this case it was named after the a phrase meaning “very fat kangaroo” as ozenkadnooks were obviously once seen in this part of Victoria. The other thing bearing the same name is the Ozenkadnook Tiger, a weird beast with unusual stripes that was first photographed in this area in 1964.


Woolloomooloo, New South Wales
This one beats Mississippi hands down for numbers of a single vowel in a word, but then most Aboriginal names actually would. There’s some debate about what Aboriginal word the tongue twister came from with Wallamulla (place of plenty), Wallabahmulla (young black kangaroo), Wala-mala (Aboriginal burial ground) and a name for an area used for Aboriginal tribal fights all thrown in as possibilities. In any case Woolloomooloo was the name of the first homestead here and was built by John Palmer after he acquired the land in 1793.


Grong Grong, New South Wales
Yes you guessed it, yet another Aboriginal term, this time meaning “bad camping ground”. The 500 odd people of Grong Grong obviously don’t think that way these days. It’s a small place, 23km from Narrandera, but they have a school, fire station, a handful of churches and a police station.

Click here for part 1 or here for Part 3