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Nyoongar names recommended in Osborne Ward

29 September 2022

The City of Stirling Council has unanimously supported the recommendation of Osborne Ward Councillors Lisa Thornton and Teresa Olow to rename two laneways in Joondanna with Nyoongar names.

Also known as rights of way, these strips of land are created as a requirement of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) to allow for public access over land by vehicles, cycles or pedestrians.

Landgate is the determining authority on all road naming in the state, but City officers and Ward Councillors can make recommendations which are sent to Landgate for consideration.

In conjunction with City officers, Councillors Thornton and Olow selected three Nyoongar names in order of preference for the two rights of ways requiring new names, consistent with the dominant ‘minerals’ theme in the locality:

  1. Osborne 23007/23006
    • Boodjara – Earth
    • Kop – Charcoal
    • Dardak – White clay
  2. Osborne 22020/22019
    • Balyoongar – Sand soil
    • Djidong – Limestone
    • Mardaa – Ochre

Councillor Lisa Thornton said the use of Wadjak Nyoongar language in naming streets and rights of way was an important component of the public education needed to live as a thriving, vibrant and connected local community.

“Dual naming is not a new concept; the practice of dual naming has been adopted in many parts of the world such as Scotland, Ireland, Wales and New Zealand,” she said.

“Since 1992, mapping guidelines in Australia have encouraged naming authorities in all states and territories to acknowledge the continuing importance of the original Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names, and to adopt more frequent official use of these names.

“Landgate has even created Aboriginal and Dual Naming Guidelines to provide a framework for the naming of Western Australian geographical features and places with Aboriginal names, and our recommendations – Boodjara and Balyoongar – are in line with that framework.

“The City of Stirling is committed to the continued recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage, and capturing and recording the original place names and connection to geographical features and places is one of the ways we can achieve this.”

Councillor Teresa Olow said the naming of places using Nyoongar language was deeply rooted in the local history of the places we call home.

“Many geological features and places in Western Australia were named by Aboriginal Australians including the suburbs of Gwelup, Balcatta, Nollamara, Balga, Mirrabooka and Karrinyup, which are all Nyoongar words,” she said.

“The proposed names are richly attached to the history, culture, rights and responsibilities to the land. Aboriginal naming helps to preserve and recognise history and helps the longevity of language and culture.”

The proposed names were referred to the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG) for discussion on 3 August and the recommendations were supported by Ward Councillors and City officers.

The names have been forwarded to Landgate for approval and will be assessed against the relevant policies and guidelines.

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