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Aboriginal place naming

Geographical features and places in Western Australia were named by the Traditional Owners of the land, long before the arrival of other peoples.

These names are intrinsically connected to an Aboriginal group’s understanding of its history, culture, rights, and responsibilities to the land.

Naming guidelines

We are committed to the continued recognition of Aboriginal cultural heritage by capturing and recording the original place names and connection to geographical features and places. To do this, Landgate has published A guideline to Aboriginal naming and dual naming of features and places in Western Australia, to provide a framework for Aboriginal place naming in WA.

While the guidelines are specific to the naming of geographical features and places, Aboriginal names can be and are applied to roads and localities.

What is Aboriginal naming?

The restoration of an Aboriginal name to be used officially provides recognition to the Aboriginal name and assists in reawakening the language of that area.

What is dual naming?

Did you know there are more than 50 places that are dual named in WA? Dual naming is the approach whereby geographical features or places are officially recognised by two distinct names. One name is usually of Aboriginal language origin and the other of non-Aboriginal origin. Where a feature is currently identified by an existing non-Aboriginal name, an Aboriginal name can be put forward to be assigned as a dual name and sit alongside this name.

Aboriginal and dual names in WA

Below are some name examples found across WA.

Aboriginal naming:

Little Sandy Desert

  • Kumpupintil Lake (formerly Lake Disappointment)

Lake Argyle

  • Bilbiljim (formerly Mount Misery)


  • Walyalup Koort (formerly Kings Square)

Dual naming:


  • Mammang Koort / King George Sound
  • Doggerdirup / Bald Head


  • Yawuru Nagulagun / Roebuck Bay Marine Park
  • Lalang-garram / Horizontal Falls Marine Park

How you can help

Any individual, group or organisation can propose an Aboriginal name be restored and recognised as an official name. Such proposals must be endorsed by the relevant Traditional Owner group(s) and have local government support. If you know of an Aboriginal place name that is not officially named or is incorrect, or a non-Aboriginal place name that may cause offence to Aboriginal people, please contact the relevant local government.