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Watanobbi - worst Aussie place name ever?


By Jessie

The Central Coast of NSW - YP’s home town – is famous for some impressive attributes. Our beautiful beaches, lovely national parks, friendly locals, mild weather and relaxed lifestyle attracts hordes of families, retirees and tourists to the area.

So I’m not sure what to make about this latest achievement. According to a global poll conducted by, the little Central Coast town of WATANOBBI has been voted “Australia’s most unfortunate place name”, beating others on the short list including Burrumbuttock (NSW), Wonglepong (QLD), Humpty Doo (NT), Useless Inlet (WA), Foul Bay (SA) and Dismal Swamp (SA). 

Nowhere Else Bay in Tasmania came second, ahead of Eggs and Bacon Bay also in Tasmania which came third. Bong Bong in NSW came fourth.

Now I’m not averse to enjoying the occasional double entendre, (not-so) witty wordplay and OK, on occasion I may even descend into foolishness and immaturity [YP Boss: no, really?]. But I think Watanobbi is quite… tame really. Is it really any worse than Coffin Bay (TAS), Mooball (NSW), Boyland (QLD), Chinaman’s Knob (VIC) or Mt Buggery (VIC) for inspiring a certain class of childish connotation? 

On the subject, the UK is home to Titty Hill in Sussex, Thong in Kent and Shitterton in Dorset. Norway has Hell (in Stordal) where, since temperatures reach as low as minus 20OC, hell really does freeze over! Wales contributes Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, meaning: 'St Mary's church in the hollow of the white hazel near to the rapid whirlpool and the church of St Tysilio of the red cave'. Quite romantic, really.

Not to be outdone for the longest name, New Zealand has an uninhabited hill called: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu (which I dare say takes longer to say than to climb).

The town of Dull

The US also enjoys a wealth of unique place names: Dead Horse (Alaska), Fleatown (Ohio), Looneyville (Texas), Boogertown (North Carolina), Toadsuck (Arkansas), Boring (Oregon) and the infamous Intercourse (Pennsylvania).

But I digress. According to local paper the Express Advocate, “the popular belief about the origin of Watanobbi, which unusually for the area is not indigenous, is that the early landowner Alan Chapman described the landscape and hill as a "nobby" shape."

The paper reports that locals are outraged at the unwanted title - Watanobbi and Warnervale Community Precinct Committee President Ken Greenwald has lived in the suburb since 1986 and wouldn't swap it or the name. "This is a nice place to live," Mr Greenwald said. "And I like the name."

Another long-time local, Christine Pritchard says "I get sick of people going on about Wyong and Watanobbi; it's a lovely neighbourhood, what's in a name? At first I did think that's a silly name, but now I think it's quite distinguished. Nobody else in the whole world has a name like that, it's unique. People can be so petty”.

Do you think Watanobbi deserves its 'Worst Place Name' status? What’s the most unusual place name you’ve heard about or visited?

Jessie x


40 Responses to

Watanobbi - worst Aussie place name ever?

pdiaco said:
September 04, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Canberra is one weird place name. This name is actually an aboriginal acronym meaning 'City of Australian National Bureaucracy Exercising Risible Repressive Administration'.

September 05, 2012 at 5:59 AM

For those who may not realise Pdiaco is making a funny... being cynical but funny. Canberra is a lovely aboriginal word meaning 'meeting place'. (tut, tut, Pdiaco)

September 05, 2012 at 6:08 AM

The local graffiti-ists are amusing. Condong is changed to Condom, Tweed Heads becomes _weed Heads and Sexton Hill keeps loosing its 't'.(tee-hee)

nettle said:
September 05, 2012 at 7:22 AM

I would rather live in Watanobbi than Gravesend.

ozrick said:
September 05, 2012 at 7:54 AM

Jess, nearby on the Central Coast you have two of my favourites in Kangy Angy and Tumbi Umbi which then leads to the Aussie favourites of placenames we like so much that we say them twice like Wagga Wagga etc

goforit said:
September 05, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I almosy forgot Wanka road near dalby in qld

deeneecee said:
September 06, 2012 at 10:10 AM

What about Yackandandah. I came across it by accident, then found it was the resting place of an ancestor, so I went there, and what a great place it is. Also saw it in a movie.

September 08, 2012 at 1:02 PM

how about living in a street called Clitus st?most funny when i need to tell ppl over the phone!

Muffy said:
September 08, 2012 at 2:39 PM

I guess Nettle would not like to live in Tombstone, Arizona; either!

kragzy said:
September 10, 2012 at 9:26 PM

Funny how things come around... Watanobbi was in the news yesterday for being the site of a fire that closed the F3 (Sydney-Newcastle freeway, Australia's busiest bit of highway). If it hadn't been for this blog, I doubt I would have noticed the name.