10 racist place names changed across North Queensland

TEN locations and landmarks in Queensland which have racially insensitive names will be renamed by the State Government.

The Department of Natural Resources and Mines, which administers the naming of places, in May removed references in its databases to the name Niggers Bounce, a locality about 100km west of Charters Towers.

A spokesman for the department said it then reviewed the place names database and identified nine other names that included a similarly offensive term.

Those names were discontinued on August 14.

They included Mount Nigger, about 300km west of Cardwell, and Nigger Head, near the tip of Cape York. The decision to discontinue the use of the name Nigger Creek applies to seven creeks in North and Far North Queensland.

The decisions will be published in the Queensland Government Gazette this Friday.

The Place Names Act 1994 policy includes guidelines and naming principles that allow offensive names to be discontinued and alternative names proposed.

"It is important to understand that because these discontinued place names are shown on historical maps and plans, historical records of the names and their discontinuance are retained in the Queensland Place Names Register," the Department of Natural Resources and Mines spokesman said.

The new names would be declared after submissions from local councils, community groups and the public and would be based on a set of responsible naming principles, the spokesman said.

"Appropriate submissions are developed into formal proposals that are put out for public consultation, which includes seeking feedback from local councils, utility and emergency services providers, local Members of Parliament, community groups and traditional owners," he said.

"This public feedback is then considered by the Minister for Natural Resources and Mines before a decision is made on whether to accept and approve a proposal."

Historian and James Cook University PhD candidate Ray Holyoak said it was time for the offensive names to be erased from modern signage.

"The word nigger has always been offensive," he said

"It's a visible step towards reconciliation. I think that the Government should be liaising with traditional owners of those areas for their suggestions to rename the localities."

Topics:  north queensland racism

News Corp Australia

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