The Australian suburbs you’ve been mispronouncing your whole life

Think you’re a true blue Aussie? Think again. Even if you’re a die-hard local, you’ve probably still been mispronouncing the names of these Australian suburbs.

From Indooroopilly to Wangkatjungka, Australia is dotted with cities that will get your tongue in a twist.

The matter of pronunciation is enough to make best friends sworn enemies. So is it Jar-vis Bay or Jer-vis Bay? We’ll settle the matter once and for all.

Here are the Australian suburbs you’ve been mispronouncing.

Lake Cathie, NSW

You would think this one is pronounced Lake Cathy, like your Aunty Cathy, but it’s actually Lake Cat-eye.

Lake Cathie © Canva

Cockburn, SA/WA

There’s no reason to blush. You pronounce it Co-burn. Just ask the locals.

Manuka, ACT

Those with a sweet tooth are probably thinking of Manuka honey (Ma-NOO-ka). Wrong! This suburb of inner south Canberra is said MAR-na-ka.

Ravenshoe, QLD

This is an easy one right. You can say raven and you can say shoe, put them together and you get Raven-shoe. Sorry, try again it’s Ravens-hoe.

Forster, NSW

Forster is a stunning coastal town and home to some beautiful secluded beaches. It’s the perfect place to drop off the grid. Drop off the R while you’re at it because it’s FOSS-ter.

Coogee, NSW/WA

mispronouncing Australian suburbs
Sydneysiders might be surprised by the correct pronunciation of Coogee © Canva

This often-mispronounced Australian suburb is a bit of a doozy. In WA you will find KOO-jee within the city of Cockburn (remember that old friend). But if you’re beachside in Sydney you should say COULD-jee.

Reservoir, VIC

If you’ve been saying Resa-vore you’ve been mispronouncing this Australian suburb. It’s Resa-vwah – say it with a bit of finesse.

Jervis Bay, NSW

Do you put tomato sauce in the fridge or the cupboard? Does pineapple belong on pizza? Do you pronounce it JER-vis or JAR-VIS? These are the questions that will really test a relationship.

Sydneysiders swear its JAR-vis but locals say JER-vis. The local council and NSW Geographical Names Board have taken opposing sides of the debate.

mispronouncing Australian suburbs
You say Jervis I say Jarvis. Does it really matter when the place looks this good? © Canva

In 1928 Mr Jervis Manton wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives about the growing inclination in Australians to mispronounce Jervis Bay.

In his letter he said: “May I please assure you that the correct pronunciation of this word is Jervis and not Jarvis. Sir Thomas Jervis was a relative of my grandmother, and godfather to my father who, throughout his lifetime, was always called Jervis. If you will do what you can to maintain the correct pronunciation of Jervis I shall be glad.”

I guess it’s settled then.

Recherche, TAS

Recherche Bay is an idyllic bay in the far south of Tasmania beyond the Huon Valley. There are plenty of campsites near Cockle Creek but do your research before you go. Yes, that’s right, Re-search not Re-chur-chee.

Albany, WA

No matter how you say it Albany is a top spot for whale watching © Canva

Head to Albany for the whale watching season which begins in late May every year and ends in early October. A friendly reminder, it’s not All-bany it’s Al-bany (like Alphabet).

Wauchope, NSW

In 1836 Captain Robert Andrew Wauch purchased 307 hectares on King Creek. His name was Wauchope but he dropped the ‘ope’ because of a family dispute. He named the property ‘Wauchope’ and the town was developed from there.

The family pronounced the surname Walk-op but locals say War-hope. Whatever you do, just don’t say War-choppy (I certainly didn’t).

Mount Kosciuszko, NSW

Hiking up Mount Kosciuszko © Canva

We can all agree on this one – Kozzy-oss-ko. It’s Australia’s tallest mainland mountain at 2,228 metres. However, technically the correct Polish pronunciation would be Kosh-chush-ko.

Derby, WA / TAS

This is one of many Australian suburbs you’ve been trying to say right but mispronouncing anyways.

When you think of derby and sport you say DAR-by. Not in WA and Tasmania, in both states you say it phonetically, DER-by.

Mamungkukumpurangkuntjunya Hill, SA

Right, this is where we wrap up the story. This is the longest town name in Australia. I won’t even try this one, but have a look at this news reader who did and nailed it.

Have you been mispronouncing the names of these Australian suburbs or did you get them all right?

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