Botany Bay is a name for the district between South East Road and Portsmouth Road in Sholing - the valley of the more easterly of the streams feeding Miller's Pond. The first printed record of it as a place name was in the Southampton street directory of 1859, but it was probably in oral use long before this. The origins of the name are obscure, but may be a reference to Sholing’s remoteness; it was sparsely-populated heathland for much of the 19th century. The term ‘Botany Bay’ was sometimes used colloquially and ironically for any distant place. An alternative explanation is that it was a reference, perhaps jocular, to Sholing’s traditional population of gypsies, squatters and other supposedly disreputable elements. Botany Bay in Australia was, of course, the site of the original convict settlements, to which, from 1778, British criminals were transported.


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