Indigenous culture and gender equality will be better reflected in new Victorian place names following an overhaul of the state’s naming practices. But what does this mean for the more … how should we say, “risqué” place names such as Mount Buggery, Sausage Gully & Spanker Knob? Let’s investigate.
After a review of Victoria’s naming practices, a register will be set up to ensure any new place names aren’t offensive. Dual place names will also become more common as they have in places like Aotearoa / New Zealand and Traditional Owners will be more involved in naming processes.
Rodney Carter, the chief executive of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation told The Age using Indigenous place names would be both “liberating” and “decolonising”. He said the move would give “country back its voice again”.
However, Carter doesn’t advocate for dual place names. He reckons Indigenous names on their own would be the way to go.
“It’s putting us as people back in the landscape. It’s healing to people.”
This sentiment is in line with that of The Māori Party across the Tasman. The party has been lobbying for an outright name change from New Zealand to Aotearoa with its petition gaining over 10,000 signatures.
“It’s well past time that Te Reo Māori was restored to its rightful place as the first and official language of this country,” party co-leaders Rawiri Waititi and Debbie Ngarewa-Packer said in September last year as per SBS.
The Age also spoke to Kerry Wilson, co-founder of the Put Her Name On It movement which aims to get more places named after women.
“If we can contribute to more diverse spaces that shine the light on women, diversity and Aboriginal heritage, I think there’s good evidence that those places will feel more welcoming and safer as well.”
The news comes only weeks after the Hepburn Shire Council voted to change the name of Jim Crow Creek (yeeeesh) to Larni Barramal Yaluk. Thank god.
Basically, the phrase “Jim Crow” is a deeply derogatory term linked to the segregation, racism and slavery of Black people in the United States.
For our full explainer on why the creek’s former name was deeply cooked, suss our explainer of the entire sitch here.
These new regulations in Victoria will only apply to NEW place names and won’t be used to alter pre-existing ones.
Mount Buggery, Sausage Gully & Spanker Knob are safe so we can continue to giggle at them. For now.