Last week I arrived in the suburb of Tranmere, walked to Trywork Point and then retraced my steps back into Tranmere.
Today I have been wondering why this suburb was named so. Wikipedia was my only source of information. If that information is true, then this Derwent River edge suburb in the City of Clarence was named after a suburb of Birkenhead in the Wirral Peninsula in England. And where is that I wondered. This is the Liverpudlian part of England on the north western coast of England. Home of ‘Gerry and the Pacemakers’ ferrying across the Mersey River. English Tranmere skirted the edge of part of that River in a similar way to our Hobart Tranmere skirting the edge of part of the Derwent River.
In addition, I discovered that South Australia also contains a suburb named Tranmere in its capital city. However, so Wikipedia tells me, that Adelaide suburb was named after a town in Cheshire, England. These bits of information raised more questions. Good ol’ Wikipedia. Another of its sites tells me that Tranmere was, before local government reorganisation on 1 April 1974, a part of the County Borough of Birkenhead within the geographical county of Cheshire. It seems a reasonable guess that Adelaide and Hobart’s suburb are named after the same English town.
Apparently the name Tranmere was given by Norwegian Vikings who settled and colonised Wirral in the 10th century. Tranmere in Old Norse is Trani-melr, meaning “Cranebird sandbank” or “sandbank with the Cranebirds”. So … now I am wondering whether cranes rested on the shores of the Derwent in the area of Tranmere. Australia has only one cranebird: the Sarus Crane lives mostly in the northern tip of the Northern Territory. However Australia has a number of Herons and, despite being considerably smaller and shorter their long necks might have been considered comparable to a Crane. Tasmania welcomes both the White Necked Heron and the White Faced Heron. This former bird is similar to England’s Common Crane in colour. Is it possible that a person from England’s Tranmere area was walking along our river’s edge before the suburb spread, saw the White Necked Heron wandering around, felt the power of our Derwent River providing a separation ribbon from Hobart city on the other side, and remembered standing at Tranmere looking across at Liverpool city? I don’t know the answer.
A final bit of trivia. Tranmere in England is home to Dave Nicholas the last resident cinema organist in the United Kingdom. You can read more about him at http://picturepalace.org/cinema-staff/organists/. In addition there are some extraordinary videos to be watched.