Indigenous Australians choose spiritual and also poetic names for their roads and also lakes. The rest of Australians, not so much.

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Nullaki Peninsula, western Australia

Aussie road Names

By Joann Gren

Names of areas in Australia, like Aussies themselves, room brutally honest and steeped in rich, witty humor.


Who wonders just how the at an early stage explorers were feeling in Misery just or ~ above Cape Tribulation? Captain Bligh and his crew discovered safe harbor on restoration Island. The Pink Roadhouse top top the Oodnadatta monitor in southern Australia is precisely that: a roadhouse painted pink.

Frank Hann uncovered Lake disappointment while trying to find fresh water in the Pilbara an ar of west Australia in 1897. As soon as it no dry, which isn’t often, that saltier 보다 the oceans.

My personal favorite, Useless Loop Road, is a dust track out on a peninsula close to Shark just (guess what’s in the bay) in west Australia; it gets to the water eventually, however is, well, useless, really.

Indigenous names, which regularly express love of country and also connection come the land, frequently tie up white people’s tongues. Because that example, the roadway that associate the brand-new highway to Mandurah just south of Perth is dubbed Mandjoogoordap Drive. Say it really rapid a pair of times and also you might get it. In the Noongar language it way “meeting place of the heart.” Oodnadatta is one adaptation of “utnadata,” an Arrente word an interpretation “mulga blossom.”

The Aussie tongue — that white settlement at the very least — seems to like being firmly planted in the Aussie cheek. Consider, because that example, the applications of words “great.”


The good Eastern Highway, 4 lanes the traffic through streetlights and crosswalks in Perth, narrows to 2 lanes long before it end in Kalgoorlie 600 kilometers come the east.

I intend these roads are considerable in degree, power and intensity. Compared with the back roads, whereby there is sometimes a single lane the bitumen (put your exterior tires in the dirt if you encounter oncoming traffic), one could describe them as very first rate. However “great”?

Then again, probably the Aussies are having a go. After ~ all, taking the piss, the themselves and also everyone else, is a national sport here.

But allow me tell you about one that helped me know our naming ways: the Great main Road. It’s one of seven linked roads that kind the Outback Way, a four-wheel-drive adventure indigenous Cairns, on the northern coastline of Queensland, v Alice Springs in the middle, to Perth top top the western shore.

The most straight route throughout Australia, the been referred to as “Australia’s longest shortcut.”

The roadway is open up all year, however unless harsh daytime problems that cause exhaustion and dehydration — or sudden heavy rains the render the road impassable for days — don’t issue you, it’s best to travel between April and also October.

Feral animals, especially camels, are present all year.

We chose the Great main Road top top our means home from Alice Springs. ~ refueling in ~ the petrol station in Yulara, the will base for tourists to Uluru-Kata Tjuta nationwide Park (also recognized as Ayers Rock), the ranger at the gate shook his head and also waived the park fee once we defined we to be driving through to Perth.


Jarring vibrations, intermittently exposed by loose sand slides and pothole plunges, shook the truck; red bull dust seeped v closed vents.

The Petermann Ranges, made of granite and sandstone, arised on the horizon. Ernest Giles, the very first European to visit here, called them after the geographer august Petermann.

But there to be so much more.

Between the ranges, acacia shrubs dotted the low-lying hills the gave method to sand dunes spiked with spinifex. We saw no one because that hours. Anangu Pitjantjatjara soil — Anangu way people who belong to the earth — swallowed us up whole.

We knew the outback was vast and remote; us were well ready in terms of spare parts, permits and fuel stops. Yet the word “great” no nearly large enough for the raw energy of the bush or the weighty power of that night sky.

A deep love and also respect the this land, one common by every Australians, to be born in me. That, I’ve come to believe, is what black and also white fellas, each in their very own way, space expressing through their place names — love and also respect because that this good land.


Share her stories v us. Because that guidance and also inspiration, below are a couple of other current entries: around racism, weekend sport, birthday cakes, one more road trip, for the birds, no hat, no play, a housewarming party, tales of nippers, growing up on the creek, generational angst, paying with pineapples, magical mermaid pools, lizard friends, nude beaches, music and also road trips, curious lifeguards, death and kindness, to add poetry and #metoo on the work site.

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