Since June 2001, the government has supported a dual naming policy for geographical features and cultural sites. The policy aims to give prominence to Aboriginal place names alongside European counterparts.
To date, 35 sites have had Aboriginal names officially recognised (see the table below). The NSW Government encourages people and organisations to use both names when referencing these sites. For example, Lavender Bay in Sydney could be referred to as ‘Lavender Bay / Gooweebahree’.
NSW is home to more than 30 Aboriginal languages. Through place naming, communities can unlock stories and provide a sense of belonging and identity.
In NSW, the Geographical Names Board (GNB) is the authority for naming features such as mountains, bays and rivers along with suburbs, railway stations and other places and sites. Local councils look after naming infrastructure such as bridges and roads.
When the GNB assigns a name, it becomes the officially recognised place name. This means the name is published on maps and made available for the community to use.
You can find more information on dual naming on the Geographical Names Board website.
Anyone can submit a proposal to name or rename a geographical feature, including for dual naming.
Any proposal must have community support before it’s submitted to the Geographical Names Board.
The Geographical Names Board will consult with the community throughout the place-naming process to ensure names reflect local sentiment.
The Geographical Names Board reviews all submissions before making a recommendation to the relevant minister, who will have the final say.
Submit a place name proposal through the Geographical Names Board website.
|Non-traditional name||Aboriginal name|
|Bathurst Regional Council|
|Bega Valley Shire Council|
|City of Newcastle|
|South Channel Hunter River
|City of Shoalhaven
|City of Sydney|
|Mrs Macquaries Point
|Hawkesbury City Council|
|Middle Head||Gubbuh Gubbuh|
|Murray River Council|
|North Sydney Council|
|Careening Cove||Weeyuh Weeyuh|
|Mosmans Bay||Goram Bullagong|
|Tweed Shire Council|
|Woollahra Municipal Council|
Page last updated: 16/07/2021