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Tasmania's quirky and unusual place names reflect the island's colourful history. Here are just a few.

 

Bagdad

The rural community of Bagdad, 40 kilometres north of Hobart, was bombarded by confused web users in 2003 after US forces invaded Iraq. Messages of sympathy and support were sent to the town's online access centre from around the world. Whereas the besieged Iraqi city of Baghdad was home to about five million people, the population of the Tasmanian town is just 650.

 

Bay of Fires

In the island’s north-east, the Bay of Fires was named by Captain Tobias Furneaux in 1773 when he saw the blaze of fires burning along the shore, lit by Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

 

Bust-Me-Gall Hill and Break-Me-Neck Hill

Located on the road from Hobart to Orford, the precise derivation of these two names isn’t known. However, early east-coast settlers and travellers with their bullock drays laden with supplies had great difficulty negotiating the two steep sections of road.

 

Hells Gates

Popular belief has it that this name refers to the fact that it's the dangerous entrance to Macquarie Harbour. In fact, it was named Hells Gates because of the hellish conditions of the penal colony in the harbour.

 

Doo Town

Just past Teralina / Eaglehawk Neck in Tasman National Park is the holiday village of Doo Town. Homes have been named in the “Doo” theme: Gunadoo, Doodle Doo, Love Me Doo, Doo Us, Doo Me, Doo Nix, Wee Doo, Xanadu, Rum Doo, and the house that reputedly started it all, Doo Little, an apt name for a holiday shack. There is one dissenting house in the town, daringly named Medhurst.

Doo Town
Doo Town
Tourism Tasmania & Dan Fellow
Doo Town
Tourism Tasmania & Kathryn Leahy

Paradise

Paradise, in north-west Tasmania, was named by its first white settlers who were devout Calvinists. The original name was Reuben Austen's Paradise, after one of the settlers who saw the sun glistening on the picturesque mountain vista and remarked: "This is paradise."

 

Penguin

This pretty seaside town overlooking Bass Strait on the north-west coast was named by the distinguished botanist Robert Campbell Gunn after the little penguins that inhabit the coastline.

 

Promised Land

Named by early white settlers because of its promise of a better life, the area is today the site of Tasmania's International Rowing Course at Lake Barrington.

 

Elephant Pass

One of two mountain passes used to reach the north-east town of St Marys, Elephant Pass is named after Mount Elephant, which is said to resemble the silhouette of the animal.

 

Snug

South along the Channel Highway from Hobart lies the adorably named town of Snug. Proclaimed a town in 1908, the name is believed to have come from sailors who found “snug” anchorage for their ships in the D'Entrecasteaux Channel. The channel was named after French Rear Admiral Bruni d'Entrecasteaux, surveyor of much of south-eastern Tasmania in 1792.

 

And more

Daisy Bell, Egg and Bacon Bay, Flowerpot, Jetsonville, Milkshake Hills, Nook, Nowhere Else, Needles, Ouse, Squeaking Point and Tomahawk are just a few curious names, with many more to discover.

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