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Capturing history

The Register of Geographic Names (VICNAMES) holds over 200,000 road and over 40,000 place names. Geographic Names Victoria (GNV) is recording name origin history for these records and uses a range of sources to identify the history of names. In 2019 GNV updated 1988 place and road names records, and this work continues into 2020.

GNV is currently running a project to review over 9000 Notification for Editing Services (the old VES) and the Vicmap Editing Service (VES) change requests, which date back to 2008.  This involves 12 years of change requests (CR) relating to place and road naming and in some cases includes  historical information which has never been added to VICNAMES.  We will continue to update VICNAMES as we work through this data.

Naming authorities and members of the public are welcome to submit historical information via VICNAMES or by submission to geo.names@delwp.vic.gov.au. If you would like further information about this project, please get in touch.

Vicnames Enhancements

Geographic Names Victoria continues to work on improving the useability and functionality of the VICNAMES application. Enhancements to VICNAMES during 2019 included:

  • indicating whether a place or road name is Aboriginal in origin
  • links to the Victoria Government Gazette notice for all roads and places
  • ability to search for a road or place via a gazette date
  • ability to search for a road or place which is an Aboriginal name.

Enhancements coming to VICNAMES in 2020 include:

  • ability to record sound files for place names to assist in the pronunciation of a name
  • an updated algorithm for the duplicate search function for both roads and places
  • inclusion of themes for roads, i.e. Aboriginal, ANZAC, other, etc.
  • ability to have multiple radia within one locality, i.e. where a locality is currently set to a 15km radius, and there is significant development, a 5km radius may be applied around the developing area. 

It is anticipated these updates will be available by the end of the calendar year. If you would like to suggest an enhancement for VICNAMES or would like further information please contact the team at geo.names@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Reviewing Victoria's naming rules
Geographic Names Victoria to launch latest review

Geographic Names Victoria is reviewing the Naming rules for places in Victoria 2016 (‘the naming rules’) as provided under Section 6 of the Geographic Place Names Act 1998. The 2020 review will see several amendments and improvements. The current naming rules are here

The team looks forward to engaging with stakeholders throughout the review, which begins in June - stay tuned for more information. A 2020 Naming rules review committee is being established to ensure comments and proper governance of the review. The nominated committee members include members of the Geographic Place Names Advisory Panel, colleagues from emergency services and representatives from councils. It is expected that the Committee will consider matters on a monthly basis.

Council officers interested in sitting on the 2020 Naming rules committee should contact Rafe Benli, Project Manager at geo.names@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Honouring Department staff who served in the First World War

Geographic Names Victoria has today launched a report to honour the 127 staff who enlisted in the First World War, on the eve of ANZAC Day 2020.

Thanks to the extensive research of Project Officer, Rebecca Russell, the Department of Crown Lands and Survey and Office of Titles Honour Roll 1914 – 1918 shares the stories of these young men: servicemen, but also fellow public servants, Victorians, beloved members of families and communities.  

Staff from across the Department of Crown Lands and Survey, and Office of Titles - departments that preceded the Department of Land, Water and Planning - began enlisting within weeks of the outbreak of war in 1914.  

Thirty-seven men would lose their lives to the war: either directly in combat, or succumbing to their wounds, or by illness. Others who returned home had their lives cut short by the physical and psychological effects of their service. Many were able to reintegrate to their lives, while some could not.

For more information, please get in touch with the Geographic Names Victoria team at geo.names@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Mother Language Day 21 February 2020

GNV celebrated Mother Language Day by reflecting on  work in partnership with Traditional Owner groups across Victoria to promote and preserve Aboriginal languages and cultures. Achievements include:

  • Enabling self-determination through Indigenous-led place naming workshops.
  • Highlighting the importance of Aboriginal place names, histories and cultures through short documentaries.
  • Embedding Victoria’s Traditional Owner names in DELWP’s culture through the Aboriginal meeting room name project.


Our Languages Matter workshops

Throughout the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019, GNV delivered three Indigenous-led place naming workshops across Victoria. The aim of the workshops is to upskill Traditional Owner groups, local government authorities and state government bodies on place naming principles. They also highlight the importance of Aboriginal place names and increase the number of these names throughout Victoria.

GNV is holding  more Indigenous-led place naming workshops throughout 2020.

Budj Bim documentary

This short documentary explores the importance of the Dhauwurd Wurrung language.

It gives an insight into the  recent UNESCO World Heritage listing of Budj Bim as  one of the oldest aquaculture systems in the world and features Uncle Johnny Lovett, Gunditjmara Elder, and Tyson Lovett-Murray, Traditional Owner and Gunditj Mirring Project Officer.

The documentary is on  DELWP’s media centre at: https://www2.delwp.vic.gov.au/media-centre/media-releases/preserving-budj-bims-rich-cultural-heritage-and-languages

Cultural heritage sensitivity

The Naming rules for places in Victoria (Naming rules) includes procedures around the protection of Victoria’s Aboriginal Heritage in accordance with the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations 2018.

Areas of cultural heritage sensitivity contain or may contain Aboriginal cultural heritage places and objects and can include various landforms – for further information see Aboriginal Victoria, Cultural Heritage Sensitivity.  

Under the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations, a waterway or land within 200 metres of a waterway is an area of cultural heritage sensitivity unless it is subject to significant ground disturbance.  A waterway is defined as  a river, creek, stream or watercourse, registered under the Geographic Place Names Act 1998 andin the Register of Geographic Names, VICNAMES.  Registered waterways in VICNAMES  have the potential to be associated with a Cultural Heritage Management Plan to enable planning and development activities to occur within 200 metres – See Aboriginal Victoria – Cultural Heritage Management Plans.  

Geographic Names Victoria is working with naming authorities and the Office of Aboriginal Affairs to ensure the currency of waterways named in VICNAMES.  It is essential that naming authorities register named waterways in VICNAMES without delay, due to the implications under the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations if they are not registered.  

Under the naming rules, Naming authorities must consult with property owners within 200 metres of a waterway to be named. Property owners must be made aware of the area in terms of its potential cultural heritage sensitivity and the need for a Cultural Heritage Management Plan, under the Aboriginal Heritage Regulations.

Melbourne Water named nine waterways last year, consulting with property owners and the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation. The names are shown below.

Aboriginal name

Meaning

Gurrng-gurrng Creek

Kookaburra

Marram Tamboore Creek

Kangaroo waterhole

Marram Bulok Creek

Many kangaroos

Waa Creek

Crow

Warin Creek

Wombat

Wimbi Creek

Wallaby

Djirri Djirri Creek

Willie Wagtail

Murnong Creek

Yam Daisy

Gurrorra Creek

Koala

Public safety

A key issue for emergency services is trying to locate a geographic feature,  trail or track that has a signposted name  but is not in Vicmap (the State Government’s authoritative spatial dataset) and VICNAMES.

Naming authorities are responsible for ensuring names of geographic features are registered in Vicmap and VICNAMES. Significant features such as national parks, that have trials and tracks with names signposted, must be  in VICNAMES. Parks with named playgrounds should also be registered in VICNAMES.

Geographic Names Victoria is  working with naming authorities to identify and lodge  legacy place names in VICNAMES as a public safety initiative.

We ask naming authorities to submit via the Vicmap Editing Service any long-standing/legacy place names that pre-date the Geographic Place Names Act 1998

Victoria's complex site addressing program

Geographic Names Victoria, with assistance from Vicmap's Information Services Division, emergency services and other stakeholder organisations, is launching the complex site addressing program.

The complex site addressing program aims to provide a unique address for each sub-address within large or complex sites such as retirement villages, universities, shopping centres, camping sites, sporting facilities, tourist venues, and caravan and residential parks.

By doing this, the program will improve the property addressing system in Victoria and support efficient and effective delivery of emergency and postal services, as well as a range of government activities.

Geographic Names Victoria will provide an information flyer to municipal councils, who can then distribute it to managers of complex sites.

The addressing information should then be provided by site managers to their councils for uploading to Vicmap.

Victoria's complex site addressing program (PDF, 390.2 KB)
Victoria's complex site addressing program (DOCX, 1.3 MB)

Audit of road names on plans of subdivision

Road names are being audited to ensure they comply with the principles and requirements in the Naming rules for places in Victoria (Naming rules).

The compliance rate is  68 per cent, with most non-compliance  due to the incorrect application of a road type.

Municipalities on the urban growth fringe of Melbourne are audited often as they generally have the most plans of subdivision.

Geographic Names Victoria is working to enhance the program through projects that will see improvements to SPEAR and other useful aids for  surveyors and subdivisional officers.

Locality boundary notification process

Under Section 5 Localities in the Naming rules for places in Victoria 2016, there is provision to modify a locality boundary or create a new locality.  The naming authority responsible is local government. Geographic Names Victoria receives on average five requests per year to modify a locality boundary.   These proposals are significant as they involve changes in street address.

A property owner or resident should not  use the new locality for their address until formally advised by letter from the local government authority after gazettal, as shown below.

Further information

For location and contact details, visit contact us.

Page last updated: 17/06/20