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Geographic Names Committee turns 80

The committee responsible for approving the names of Western Australia’s towns, suburbs, streets and landmarks is celebrating its 80th anniversary.

Landgate Chief Executive Mike Bradford said the Advisory Committee on Nomenclature, now called the Geographic Names Committee, met for the first time in July 1936.

“Before the formation of this committee there were no processes for geographic naming in Western Australia. This led to problems like the duplication of names across the country and European spellings of Aboriginal place names which led to them being mispronounced,” Mr Bradford said.

The Committee was chaired by historian James Sykes Battye and included Paul Hasluck who later became Australia’s 17th Governor General.

“Some of the first items discussed by the committee were the spelling of Burswood Island, and the mispronunciation of place names by radio presenters,” Mr Bradford said.

“Western Australia has a rich variety of place names; from the unusual including Useless Loop, Disaster Bay and Geekabee Hill, to names reflecting the state’s Aboriginal heritage such as Badgingarra, Narembeen and Bindi Bindi.

“Today local councils and property developers submit names to Landgate for approval. The Geographic Names Committee is called upon to rule on names that don’t comply with naming policies.

“Landgate is looking for two community representatives with an interest in geographic naming to join the committee which includes members from a range of government agencies, property groups, Australia Post and emergency services.

“These new representatives will be required to attend quarterly meetings and will give the committee important insights into community expectations about geographic naming matters.”

Expressions of interest are due by close of business on 29 July and more information is available.


Note to editors

Landgate is Western Australia's primary source of land information and geographic data, providing the accuracy government, business and individuals rely on.

Contact: Karen McPherson, Media and Ministerial Adviser

Phone: +61 (0)8 9273 7514 +61 (0)407 420 255