Skift Take

There are much, much worse ways for small towns to make a mark. But meanwhile, the villages of Ho-Hum and Why Bother are already preparing their respective sister-city pitches.

The long-suffering inhabitants of Bland in Australia are hoping to turn a negative into a positive by establishing sister relationships with Dull in Scotland and Boring in the US.

Bland Shire, which is home to more than 6,000 people, encompasses farmland in the sprawling Riverina region of New South Wales.

It was named after William Bland, a colonial-era doctor who was anything but dull.

Born in London, the son of an obstetrician, he was transported as a convict to Van Diemen’s Land in 1814 after killing a sailor in a duel in Bombay.

He was later pardoned, became a pillar of colonial life and went on to found the Australian Medical Association.

“I think over the years we’ve had our share of fun poked at us,” Tony Lord, a Bland Shire councillor, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“Wherever there’s a deemed threat or a deemed negative, there’s always an opportunity.

“I think that’s where we need to think positively and look ahead at all the opportunities that may occur or that we can generate.

“We’re hoping it will basically make people aware of the Bland Shire, and also make people aware that there are unusual names around the world,” he said.

The village of Dull, in Perthshire, and Boring, in Oregon, have already joined forces to draw in tourists and forge closer links between their communities, with their inhabitants linking up via social media.

It may be the subject of mockery, but at least Bland does not have the same problems as the village of F—— in Austria .

Its road signs are regularly stolen by souvenir hunters.


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Tags: branding, tourism

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