Scottish Place Names
- Adelaide, Australia

Of the names of the 416 cities and suburbs in the Adelaide-Gawler-Stirling-Port Noarlunga Metropolitan area, 110 (26.4%) are based wholly or in part on place names that can be found in Scotland, on Scottish family names or on Scottish words. Of course, many of the names are used in other parts of the British Isles as well but 45 (10.8%) of these appear to be unique to Scotland or are readily identifiable with places in Scotland that are based on the same names.
Picture of Torrens river and Festival Centre via Wikimedia.

Official suburbs and other localities with names that occur only in Scotland and not elsewhere in the British Isles, and/or are definitely or most probably of Scottish origin are:

Other suburbs and communities with names that can be found in Scotland but that are not unique to Scotland are:

A final category of suburban names comprises places that can be found in Scotland but which, in Adelaide's case, definitely or most probably have no connection with Scotland.

Cowandilla, Glenalta and Stonyfell also have a "Scottish ring" about them, but have not yet been established as place names that actually exist in Scotland. There are several places in Scotland containing the name Cowan, but Cowandilla is actually the Aboriginal name for the Glenelg area and is therefore clearly not of Scottish origin. Fell is a geographical term found in the Scottish Borders and northern England, but Stonyfell as such does not seem to occur in the UK, the name (meaning 'rocky hill') being made up by Annie Montgomery Martin, a settler. There is a case for claiming Elizabeth as a suburb that has a Scottish link since it honours Queen Elizabeth II who is half Scottish through her mother. Elizabeth and its eight extensions (Elizabeth Downs, Elizabeth East, Elizabeth Grove, etc) have not been included as Scottish names, however, as this would overstate the connection between Adelaide and Scotland. Myrtle Bank also has a Scottish connection, though there is nothing obviously Scottish about the name. This suburb takes its name from a residence built by a 19th century Scots settler, William Sanders, who was born in Kinross.

In line with its image as an essentially "English" city, the toponymy of Adelaide is dominated by names of English origin (only Boston, Massachusetts and possibly Christchurch in New Zealand appear to be even more strongly "English" in this regard). Scottish influences on Adelaide place names are nevertheless fairly marked, as this article demonstrates. While Scottish place names can be found throughout the Adelaide Metropolitan area, their concentration varies considerably from one part of the city to the next. True to its Scots origins, the City of Burnside is particularly well endowed with Scottish place names, with as many as 30.8% being uniquely Scottish (compared with 10.8% for Adelaide as a whole).


© Ian Kendall
Melbourne, Australia, May 2005
Revised February 2008

If you wish to contact Ian about his research, his e-mail address is

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