Down the Mall: Gallic general's name with a Bendigo twang

MENTION was made this week of the number of Crimean places names in Australia, particularly central Victoria.

Events in the Ukraine of the past few days have opened some people’s eyes about the lost or forgotten origins of our own place names. 

It’s all because of the mid-19th century Crimean War when the colonies were fiercely loyal to the mother country.

Sebastopol, of course, is known in most Australian states as the name of towns and streets.

We have Crimea, but here’s a few you might recognise as being a bit closer to home. Many are the names of British or allied generals or heroes of Crimean battles.

Yea, Raglan, Inkermann, Alma, Balaklava, (or Balaclava), Malakhov, Odessa, Cardigan. 

But here’s one DTM was surprised about – St Arnaud.

Apparently it was the name of a French general, Jacques Leroy de Saint Arnaud. 

We doubt he pronounced it as we do: “Snar nud.” It would have been “Saint Arrr Noo.”

Gardens get closer

Ah, the world gets smaller every day… but.

One of the splendid walking signs around Lake Weeroona appears to announce that the equally splendid Botanic Gardens are just “3cm” away.

Spirited game

DTM has been accused before of being an “etymological determinist”. 

After we looked it up, we found it’s probably right. It means we find inspiration and meaning in the origins of words.

Here’s today's: Spirit.

From the 13th century Old French (the French again … quelle surprise!) espirit, meaning the breath or untouchable essence of something, so we therefore get words such as “inspiration”.

Which, given this weekend’s WNBL grand final, is just about right.

Sorry, Townsville.

Mad riders

On the other hand, sadly “madison” is possibly derived from an early American name for “son of Maddy”.  Maddy was a nickname for women named Maude.

Having watched riders do 100 laps of the Tom Flood velodrome at bewildering speeds, perhaps the name is apt.

They are the sons of maddies.

It sounds right... 

Newspaper folk have it drummed into them to use all efforts to make sure they don’t get their worms dixed. 

But here’s a little exercise showing how difficult this can be when we rely more and more on technology.

My Spell Chequer 

Eye halve a spelling chequer. 

It came with my pea sea. 

It plainly marques four my revue 

Miss steaks eye kin knot sea. 

Eye strike a key and type a word 

And weight four it two say 

Weather eye am wrong oar write 

It shows me strait a weigh. 

As soon as a mist ache is maid 

It nose bee fore two long 

And eye can put the error rite 

Its rare lea ever wrong. 

Eye have run this poem threw it 

I am shore your pleased two no 

Its letter perfect awl the weigh 

My chequer tolled me sew.

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