April 05, 2006

Horse 523 - New Newness

Just between you and me and the gatepost and the whole world because this is on the net, I have thought for a long time that the prefix of "New" in a town's name is simply tacky and doesn't show any forethought. It's as if the people in the new place were bereft of imagination and couldn't come up with their own name at all. These then are just a few of the New names that aren't really New at all.

New Zealand - Our friends across the Tasman in their all-black shirts who like nothing better than to steal the Bledisloe and Melbourne Cups probably don't realise that Zeeland is actually one of the Netherlands.
Zeeland is a confabulation of a few islands and a bit bordering Belgium so perhaps when Abel Tasman sailed around he thought that naming them after something back home would be good... bit silly.

New South Wales - The south of Wales is a grey bleak part of the world covered in what seems like perpetual cloud and driving rain. The differences are stark as New South Wales is a sunny somewhat dry land with fluffy white clouds, surfing beaches and flat mountains.
Was James Cook taking the mick out of Wales when he named here? South Wales would have been a more appropriate place for a gaol than the penal colony at Port Jackson 18 years later.

New York - The Big Apple is famous for tall buildings, financial markets, massive crowding and big productions on stage. York the capital of Yorkshire is famous for... village cricket and slow people?
The white rose county is steeped in history with cathedrals and evidence of Vikings and Romans. The only Roman you're likely to find in New York is Roman Abramovich doing oil trading.

New Caledonia - This is a French territory that is names after something in the UK. Caledonia was the Latin name for Scotland The differences between Caledonia and New Caledonia are even more stark than between South Wales and New South Wales.
In New Caledonia, one might find one's self on a deck chair beside a swimming pool in the tropical sunshine sipping daquiris. In Caledonia, you might also find people in varying states of undress but rest assured the circumstances will be more daft. The French have this habit of kissing each other on the cheek as a form of greeting, but the only kiss you're likely to get in Caledonia is a Glaswegian one.

Maybe denoting something as "New" is a form of irony. Maybe that's what Mr Howard meant when he told us of a "New" Tax System with the GST.


Katja said...

I'm wondering about Newfoundland. Talk about no imagination!

Shouldn't it be Oldfoundland now?

Rollo said...

We have a suburb in Sydney called Newtown. Does that mean that the original is just called Town?

Actually you have an Old Town in San Diego? Is that the original and the best?