Aboriginal names to be put on the map
By BEN McKAY
March 13, 2013, 9:41 p.m.
A view from Mount Wellington, also known as Kunanyi.
TASMANIANS will soon see Aboriginal names on signs and maps.
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The state government yesterday used Kunanyi – the Aboriginal name for Mount Wellington – as the venue to launch its new Aboriginal and dual naming policy.
Under the policy, significant landmarks may feature both the Aboriginal name and existing official names, with the potential to rename landmarks with the Aboriginal name if community support exists.
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Michael Mansell said the TAC had pushed the government to adopt the new naming approach.
“If we had suggested this 30 years ago, white Tasmania would have had a fear of it,” Mr Mansell said.
“It’s the cultural cringe that has for too long dominated the Tasmanian cultural landscape.”
The TAC is expected to put proposals for dual naming forward to the Nomenclature Board for consideration within months, with the first dual names likely to be official this year.
Premier Lara Giddings described the move as an important step in the journey towards reconciliation.
“Dual naming is about recognising the Aboriginal community’s rightful status as the first inhabitants of this land and celebrating their living culture, traditions and language,” Ms Giddings said.
Mr Mansell said the day was very significant. “After 200 years, the Tasmanian government still had a cultural bias towards non-European names,” Mr Mansell said.
Tasmania is the last Australian state to adopt a similar policy.
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Mr Mansell said that the Parks and Wildlife Service was keen to use Aboriginal names in many cases with TAC permission.
Opposition Aboriginal affairs spokeswoman Elise Archer said the Liberals did not oppose the change but expressed concern at the policy’s preference for Aboriginal names over dual names where community support exists.
“We are concerned that the detailed policy document suggests it is actually about renaming Tasmanian landmarks, not dual-naming,” Ms Archer said.