The very word Epping is, quite obviously to any English speaker, the participle form of the verb ‘to epp’. It is here we runs into difficulty, as there is no English verb Epp, or even Ep. (There is a noun ep, but as an obvious short form of the noun episode, it is clearly not relevant to our discussion.) There is, however, as Estonian first name Epp, meaning ‘lively’ – but since that’s an adverb, we’re still lost in the chrono-etymological fog here. In Epping.

Epping was original a small town on the northern fringes of the Melbourne area, later captured by the slow expansion of the suburban sprawl. And whatever it was named for, it was definitely not liveliness – for many years, Epping was literally the end of the (train) line, and about the only excitement it ever saw was when the drunks on the last train out to it had to be woken at the end of their journey.

Presumably, whoever first named Epping had a pretty good idea of why it was called that, but unless it was named by someone who thought it was a great place to shag a comely Estonian immigrant, we’ll probably never know what the idea was. Nor care overmuch.

Suburbs near Epping:

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