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Australia's British Names

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by Bastion Harrison (subscribe)
Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from
Published August 22nd 2013
How many places do we have in common?
Australia's British Names

I joined Weekend Notes about one year ago, and since then, I have probably learned more about Australia than I have in my entire twenty-three years. For example, I have learnt quite a lot about the history between Britain and Australia, and how significant events in the eighteenth century has led me to much confusion when reading articles on this website.

Many a time I have read an article on Weekend Notes and thought oh that sounds interesting, I might go to that, only to find that It would be about a ten thousand-mile trip to get there. So what caused this misunderstanding? Was I just not paying enough attention to the given location? In fact, it was the name of the location that caused my confusion in the first place. It turns out that Australia and Britain have many places with the same name.

Just like in America, where many states are named after places in England (New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire), the same goes for Australia. Australia got these names when English explorers, settlers, and migrants colonised the country.

James cook, Nathaniel Dance-Holland,
James Cook Portrait by Nathaniel Dance-Holland, c. 1775

James Cook 1728-1779) was a British Naval Captain most famous for Europe's first recorded encounter Australia. In 1766, he set out on a journey across the Pacific Ocean to record the transit of Venus. Upon completing his mission, Cook's new orders to circumnavigate New Zealand, after which, on the 19th April 1770, he arrived on the shores of Australia. On the 29th April, he made it to the Kurnell Peninsula and named in Botany Bay because of all the new botanical specimens his crew discovered.

Colonisation began in 1788, in which the British set up a penal colony on Botany Bay, and founded the first Australian state, New South Wales.

New South Wales

Sydney Opera House
Sydney Opera House

Obviously named after the country of Wales in the United Kingdom, New South Wales is in the East of Australia. It is the most populated state in the country, with over 34% of Australia's population living in it's capital city, Sydney.

Within New South Wales there are almost fifty cities and towns related to place names in England. Here are some of the most notable:


Originally called Hounslow (an English county in Middlesex), it was renamed in reference to the appearance of the native shrubbery. In England Blackheath is a South Eastern London suburb with lots of common land, and got its name after Black Death spread through the city.

Blackheath has many natural attractions, including waterfalls, valleys, forests, and it hosts an annual Rhododendron Festival.


There are no less than ten Daltons in England, most are in the North in places like Cumbria, Lancashire, and Yorkshire. Dalton in New South Wales is a country town with farming in wheat and cattle. It is also an area prone to earthquakes.


While Euston is a major railway station in London designed for long distance journeys to the North, in New South Wales it is a small town with good places to fish. In 2006 it had a population of under five hundred.


Liverpool is one of Australia's oldest urban settlements, having been founded in 1810. It was named after the British Earl of Liverpool, who was the then Secretary of State for the Colonies. Recreational facilities include Bigge Park, Westfield shopping centre, and Whitlam Leisure Centre.

Other place names you'll recognise include Manchester Square, Richmond, Tottenham, and Windsor.


Ipswich, Queensland
Ipswich, Queensland

There are twenty-three areas in Queensland with English names, including towns like Croydon, Kenilworth, and Warick. While England's Ipswich is merely a county town in Suffolk, it is one of Queensland's big cities. It was first explored by colonists in 1826 and became a limestone mining settlement.

In England, Paddington might be the name of a busy train station (and a popular bear), in Australia, it is a suburban area in Brisbane with lots of nightlife and entertainment.

South Australia

Brighton, beach, Australia, England
Brighton Bridge,Victoria, Australia

Whether you are in England or in Australia, a trip to Brighton means the beach. At the coastal suburb in Adelaide, you can choose to join the Brighton-Seacliff Yacht Club, the Brighton Surf Lifesaving Club, go to Windsor Theatre, or enter the Brighton Jetty Classic. This is an open water swimming race held every February, and also includes a sculpture competition.

If you're in the not-so-sunny UK, the southern coastal town has an annual arts festival in May, marina on the seafront, and a nudist beach; you can also enjoy a fairground on the Victorian Pier.


Melbourne, Victoria
Melbourne, Victoria

Australia's most densely populated state is Victoria, and when I am reading articles on Weekend Notes, this is probably the place I get most confused about. Living not far away from London Victoria railway station, when I hear about interesting events in Victoria, I get excited for a moment, and then become disappointed upon realising it is something that will take a little more than a train journey to get to.

In Victoria you will find other English town and city names such as Chelsea, Dartmoor, Ascot, and my favourite (granted, I'm biased on a residential basis), Merton.

All images appear courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
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Your Comment
There are many more places, particularly suburbs with names in common.e.g. Box Hill, Blackburn, Croydon. Also the caption for the beach photo should read Brighton Beach [not bridge.] Thanks for the interesting article.
by junea (score: 2|171) 3228 days ago
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