Am I in a minority of one, or is there anyone else out there who feels a little sad that we don’t give proper names to three of our states or territories?
All the way down the east coast of Australia we have states with proper names, just as it should be, powerful names like Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, with that beautiful island just to the south of us also holding on to a famous name — Tasmania. But then we move west and for some reason, everyone seems to have run out of ideas, so that so that the rest of Australia gets called South Australia, Western Australia and Northern Territory. How ordinary, mundane and downright boring is that, when the places so called are themselves at least as beautiful, if not more so, than the eastern states?
What a terrific opportunity this provides to think up some really appropriate names for these three areas, names that could not only identify, but could also do one obvious thing to make our Aboriginal brethren much happier, that is, to give them names in the Aboriginal language, in much the same way as has been done in the case of Uluru, formerly known as Ayers Rock.
Along these lines, the Americans had the same idea and a high percentage of their states are named in its own indigenous languages. Think Wisconsin, Idaho, Nevada and Arizona, all picturesque and all so much more memorable, especially as there are many more states over there, most of them much smaller than the states we have, and also much more numerous.
Only the sates of the east coast possess Anglicised names, like New York, Virginia, Georgia and Maryland, and even those, (like the east coast states here in Australia), were named in memory of royal figureheads rather than something like ‘East Coast’, or ‘Northland’!
I guess the one exception to the American rule is Newfoundland, but even that, joined up to make one long word, has a certain charm about it. Okay, I know Newfoundland isn’t actually a part of the United States, but it is a part of the long land mass stretching from there right down to the State of Georgia in the south!
Talking about American states has set another idea off in my mind — why do we have so few, exceedingly large states here in Australia, unlike the US that went for a lot of smaller ones, surely easier to manage and administer?
Obviously, one reason is that our population, in a country about the same size as America, is very much smaller. Yet, bear in mind the fact that the same applied in America when its States were first formed — its population then would have been a tiny fraction of what it is today. I can also appreciate that the environment here is much less friendly than America, with vast areas virtually uninhabitable for any but hardy animals and our clever fellow citizens, the Aboriginals.
Who is to say we won’t before long, be able to colonise the outback, especially if more mineral wealth was found there — it’s surprising how habitable a desert can become when oil is discovered underneath it, or gold in its rivers! I still believe, the more I think about it, that smaller administrative areas would be easier to manage rather than what we have now, with our states larger than many countries, elsewhere in the world!
These are just a few ideas I’m kicking around, and I would be interested to hear what other readers think.