Placenames Australia. March 2010. ANZAC issue

Often credited as the event that ‘created a nation’, the landings at Gallipoli in April, 1915, are commemorated in the lead article of this fascinating little newsletter, the product of the Australian National Placenames Survey. 

Harvey Broadbent’s article examines the history of the Gallipoli site, noting that the name was most likely derived from the Greek word Kallipolis (meaning, ironically, ‘beautiful city’).  He describes an almost archeaological layering of placenames and meanings, which clearly tell the story of conflicting cultures, of physical advances and retreats, contacts and abandonment.  Brendan Whyte tells of another place of myth and imagining, the red planet, and outlines why two of its craters have the aboriginal names of Canberra and Woomera.

The newsletter also includes a placenames puzzle, a good source for a great quiz night question,  and part one of a two part article on two unusual names for Australia – Notasia and Ulimaroa.  Jan Trent has identified the origin of Notasia (described as meaning South Asia, although I think it might be more eponymous than that).

The Survey itself, once University funded but now a voluntary organisation, has set itself the task of developing a national gazetteer.  However, not content with merely documenting Australian placenames, the survey has gone to places Australians have named, including the above mentioned Gallipoli and Mars.


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Archivist, historian, avid reader

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