A clipping from a newspaper article on the naming of Canberra
Continuing on last week’s naming theme – Frontierland, anyone? – a comment on the Canberra naming story from Ray caught my eye:
It is nice to reflect on the naming of Canberra and the effort that went into choosing a suitable name.
However, this raises the question as to why such little effort or imagination went into naming the Australian Capital Territory.
Somehow we arrived at very nice distinct names for the capital cities for each Australian state, but only Tasmania stands up as a suitable name for an existing state or territory. Compare the existing names with those used in USA, Canada, UK or France. Such names as Texas, Arizona, Quebec or Provence etc. No need for the country, state, territory or province to be included in the name as they stand alone as representing their region.
Maybe 100 years would have been a suitable time to revisit the Territory name?
Good thinking, Ray. The Australian Capital Territory is indeed a stultifying – if technically correct – name for Canberra’s home.
And all the other states have dud names too! My partner is from Laos, and the provinces there have lyrical names, so much that he and three of his siblings are named after some of them. How did we get so boring?
Although, it must be said – and my colleague Ian Warden has mused on this fact before – the site for Canberra was chosen by fine, upstanding, hard-working Protestant-work-ethic type blokes who honestly thought cold weather and bracing air was better for productivity. That is why we’re so far inland.
Basically, they were just homesick for London (although, if we’re talking bad weather, I’m afraid Melbourne, not Canberra, takes the cake). I guess the country’s states were named by similarly no-nonsense types. From where I stand now, I wouldn’t have objected if they’d just named them after themselves.
So what would we call the ACT if we had the chance to rename it? How about Myola? Or even Federalia?