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Saturday, December 27, 2003
Competition report

On December 11th, I asked the carefully crafted question:
What comes next in this sequence?
Kensington, Newmarket, Ascot…
I also gave the slight additional clue that the phrasing of the question itself could be misleading. What I should have said was ‘Ascot Vale’, not ‘Ascot’ alone. I wonder if this helps, though.

Devotees of the World’s railway stations may well have come to the correct conclusion that Kensington, Newmarket, and Ascot Vale are three successive stations on Melbourne’s suburban railway line to Broadmeadows. It would then be simplicity itself to look up the station after Ascot Vale. It is, mirabile dictu, Moonee Ponds, home of the Australian housewife/superstar Dame Edna Everidge. However, no correct entries were received. I have to wonder if Myfanwy Trellis has shed her anorak (image)…

Finding Australian places with British names is, of course, by no means unusual. One has only to think of Perth and New South Wales, to realise that the whole country is one vast collection of British place names admixed with some from Europe (Heidelberg, Hahndorf) and what seem to be interesting Aboriginal words (Woomera, Wogga Wogga).

One can forgive the early settlers naming new places after the familiar things and territory left behind; Melbourne itself was named after an obscure English politician and the State of Victoria was named after the famously un-amused monarch of the same name. One has to think though that this obsession with things left behind may have got quite out of hand.

There I was in a suburb of Adelaide the other day (Brighton – obviously named by the aboriginals - if you must know) when I came across Repton, Eton and Harrow Streets. One can take all this nostalgia too far. I looked in vain for ‘Flog ’em Avenue’, ‘Sadism Row’, ‘Perversion Passage’, and ‘Masochism Mews’ but with these ex-public school people, you can never tell.

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