Nickname Hall of Fame


The Nickname is a mystifying tradition and a national phenomenon. Nowhere are nicknames thicker on the ground that across Australia’s remote rural regions and Coonamble is the capital. You have entered a realm where the ‘real’ names of most of the men and many of the women and children have been forgotten, even by their mothers. Where the need to fill out an official form sends them searching for their birth certificates. Where even local landmarks, buildings and businesses are known by names other than those their owners gave them. Nothing and no-one is safe.

Nickname Hall Of Fame Nickname Hall Of Fame (383 KB)

Australia’s streets are littered with abbreviated surnames and Coonamble has its share of Jackos, Robbos, and Thommos. But it is in the paddocks and stockyards, over outback bars and fishing eskies, where the tradition of bestowing nicknames long ago exceeded a form of convenience and become an artform.

Coonamble’s talent for nicknames is tied to our bi-cultural history. The early explorers, settlers, and stockmen discovered the keen sense of observation and dry humour of the inland’s Indigenous inhabitants. “All white men who were much with the blacks were given a native name referring to their habits or appearance.”  Soon, they had nicknames that translated to ‘hungry crow’ or ‘lizard dung’.

Anything is fodder for the nicknaming wits of Coonamble – a personal mannerism, a once-mentioned mistake, one mis-pronounced word, an unusual physical characteristic, a fashion faux pas, a sporting slipup, or a midnight misjudgement. A nickname may last a day, a week on the job … or many generations.

Coonamble is the Nickname Hall of Fame. Take a stroll to see the billboards scattered around the streets and get to know some of our stories. Or stay for a while and get to know us. Join us in celebrating the lives of the local larrikins and regional rogues, who give and receive the most inventive and unique Nicknames in Australia.