Have you ever considered where certain place names originated? Often you’ll find a lot of a country’s history tied in with how it was named, revealing influences and stories you might not otherwise stumble across. 

Take the chance to consider these Australian place names when booking your hire car from Sydney or Canberra.

1. Canberra

The name of the capital city of Australia is thought to have been derived from ‘kambera’, a native Walgalu word. Meaning ‘meeting place’, it seems an appropriate word for the city a the centre of Australian politics. 

However, it wasn’t the only name suggested. Others included Paradise, Olympus and Captain Cook. We think they made a good choice!

2. Queensland

Unoriginally, Queensland was named after a Queen – Victoria to be exact. In the 1850s the people living in the region decided they no longer wanted to be a part of the New South Wales colony. They judged themselves too far away from Sydney to gain effective governance, and wanted to take the matter into their own hands. 

In 1859, Queen Victoria granted them this right and they named the newly formed colony ‘Queensland’ to honour her. 

3. Sydney

Australia’s beginnings as the landing place of convicts is represented in the name of Sydney, one of Australia’s largest and most popular cities. Lord Sydney was the individual in charge of deciding where to send the English convicts. Originally he’d actually chosen Botany Bay. However, when the first fleet arrived they discovered the region wasn’t ideal. Exploring further they stumbled upon a cove that offered fresh water and better conditions, which they called Sydney Cove. 

Eventually, the city of Sydney emerged and took its name by association.

4. 1770

Despite how all the locals write their town name in numerals, you’ll find it written out as ‘Seventeen Seventy’ in official documents by the Australian government. Originally, 1770 was no more than Round Hill. Oh, and the landing place of James Cook and two of his men, in May, 1770. 

On the country-wide bicentennial celebration of Cook’s Australian visit in 1970, the town decided to honor it by changing their name to match the year of his landing.

5. Mt Buggery

The story behind the name might not be the one that first springs to mind. Back in the 1930s a member of the Melbourne Walking Club was not impressed with sighting another steep climb up ahead. According to Alan Budge’s book ‘No end to Walking’, the man decided that the expletive he uttered would be a perfect name for the mountain.

6. Victoria

It’s not hard to guess where this name came from. However, as the second example of a state to get named after the English monarch, it’s easy to see how well-loved Queen Victoria was. 

While road tripping in your hire car along the East Coast of Australia, see how many place names you can discover the history behind!