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How places are named

History of Queensland place naming

Before 1859, Queensland place naming was the responsibility of the Surveyor General of New South Wales. After separation, names were supplied by the Railways Department, Post Office and the Department of Public Instructions for ratification by the Department of Lands and the Surveyor General.

In the early 1920s, an unofficial committee comprising the Surveyor General, Commissioner of Railways, head of the Department of Public Instructions and university representatives was formed to approve and ratify all new place names. Professor Cumbrae-Stewart, representing The University of Queensland, was an influential committee member, who later became Chairman of the Queensland Place Names Committee. Other contributors to the recording of the history of place names were Sydney May and Colin Gill.

The Queensland Place Names Act 1958 set up the Place Names Board to approve names in the state. The Queensland Place Names Act 1988 disbanded the board and passed the responsibility for place naming to the Surveyor General, with Executive Council approving the names.

The Place Names Act 1994 gave the power for approval of place names to a Minister of the Crown. The Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy currently exercises this power. Records were first recorded on a card system, started by the unofficial committee in the 1920s. These cards were moved to The University of Queensland and later returned to the Department of Lands (Survey Office). In the 1940s, another more extensive card system was compiled using information from cadastral, topographic and military maps and the existing card system. In 1988, a computer system for place names was developed and all available information was entered into the Queensland place names database.

Contact us

For place names enquiries, email or phone 13 QGOV (13 74 68).

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last reviewed
20 March 2018
Last updated
20 March 2015
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