Legislative powers and responsibilities
13. Park names are assigned and can be changed by the Governor under s30A of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974, with the concurrence of the Geographical Names Board of NSW.
Note: The naming of parks reserved under Part 4A (Aboriginal Land) of the National Parks and Wildlife Act does not require concurrence with the Geographical Names Board of NSW.
14. The Geographical Names Board of NSW assigns names to places and natural features under the Geographical Names Act 1966. A park naming proposal must be submitted by NPWS to the Geographical Names Board of NSW for concurrence under s12 of the Geographical Names Act. The Geographical Names Board’s various guidelines and factsheets have been considered in the development of this policy.
15. Public roads and classified roads are named by the Roads Authority under s162 of the Roads Act 1993. The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is not a roads authority and cannot name these roads.
16. However, there is no legislation governing the naming of park roads, management trails or park facilities. Therefore NPWS can name these.
Further information on responsibilities is included in the accountabilities table in this policy.
Research and consultation
17. The type and extent of research and consultation on names will reflect the nature and significance of the park, place or facility to be named and the nature of the naming options being considered.
18. Consultation requirements:
The relevant National Parks and Wildlife Regional Advisory Committee(s) and Joint Management Committee will be consulted on all park names; and on a facility name where it is proposed to be named after a person or in other circumstances where advice is needed.
Local Aboriginal community members, including Traditional Owners, will be consulted on:
- name proposals of Aboriginal origin, and
- proposals to name Aboriginal areas and places, or facilities within Aboriginal areas and places.
This consultation will preferably occur through representative organisations, but must also include Traditional Owners and the OEH Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Advisory Committee (also refer to Cultural Heritage Community Consultation Policy).
The appropriate regional staff of OEH Heritage Division will be consulted on all name proposals sourced from Aboriginal communities, as well as the naming of historic sites and Aboriginal areas and places.
The Geographical Names Board will be consulted on proposals to name park roads and management trails.
For World Heritage properties and Ramsar wetlands, the relevant Commonwealth agency will be consulted.
Local and state historical associations may be consulted, and where there is doubt concerning the spelling of an Aboriginal name a linguist may also be consulted. However, preference will be given to the spelling nominated by local Aboriginal community members.
Public consultation will be undertaken if required by the Geographical Names Board of NSW (e.g. for park names) and may also be undertaken for other naming proposals. Where consultation is required, proposals will be advertised in the local press inviting public comment, for which a minimum of one month will be allowed.
19. If any objections are received to a naming proposal:
the objections will be summarised in the naming submission and
the Regional Manager will attempt to resolve the objections
Refer to paragraph 11 of the policy if objections are raised in relation to Aboriginal names..
20. The origin of the chosen name and consultation undertaken must be recorded. The Guidelines for developing naming/renaming proposals will assist staff in collecting and documenting the information required by the Geographical Names Board of NSW for park and place names, and will help in providing a historical record about the origin of names in parks.
21. Where NPWS names a park road or management trail, it must notify the following of the name once consultation in accordance with paragraphs 17–20 of these Procedures is completed:
- Australia Post
- the Registrar-General
- the Surveyor-General
- the Chief Executive of the Ambulance Service of NSW
- New South Wales Fire Brigades
- the NSW Rural Fire Service
- the NSW Police Force
- the State Emergency Service
- New South Wales Volunteer Rescue Association Incorporated.
Sources of names
22. Where there is no prominent local geographic feature, or where it is inappropriate to use its name, alternative names may be sourced from:
- any natural feature, regardless of prominence, which holds some association with the area
- a plant or animal which features in the park
- other Aboriginal associations with the area (including the name of the traditional Aboriginal people)
- historic names (e.g. names of former properties or state forests provided that they are not the same as a current forest or property name), and names of prominent people historically associated with the area (e.g. Kosciuszko National Park and Sturt National Park).
23. Naming of historic sites and other parks and facilities of historic significance will be consistent with the documentation requirements contained within the Burra Charter.
24. The same name may be used for adjoining parks of different categories (for example, Mutawintji National Park, Mutawintji Historic Site and Mutawintji Nature Reserve), to indicate that the parks are part of a single management area.
25. Names will be chosen to minimise confusion:
- Where possible, avoid using the name of nearby towns, suburbs, local council areas, state forests or other reserves that are not part of the same management area.
- Avoid using the name of features that extend well beyond the park as these lack precision in describing the location of the park.
- Avoid using names that are common in a number of locations within the same region (e.g. Deep Creek).
26. Names should, not withstanding the requirements of paragraph 22, be reasonably easy to pronounce, spell and write; and preferably of 50 or fewer characters.
27. The apostrophe mark should be omitted in the possessive case e.g. Howes Valley, not Howe’s Valley. This is to facilitate the consistent matching and retrieval of placenames in database systems such as those used by the emergency services and is consistent with the policy of the Geographical Names Board.
28. Hyphens, slashes and diacritical marks will not be used, except in the case of dual names, where a hyphen is acceptable.
29. Spelling of Aboriginal names will be in accordance with current guidelines from the Committee for Geographical Names in Australia. Whenever an Aboriginal name or word is used, it will be used without associated European words (e.g. without Mount, River, Range).
30. A dual name can be assigned to a park where there is strong evidence of a pre-existing Aboriginal place name.
31. At any given time, a park may only be assigned one name under the National Parks and Wildlife Act. Multiple names for the same park are not provided for under the Act. Dual names (i.e. hyphenated or joint names) are deemed to be one name. For example, the following names are acceptable:
'Botany Bay National Park'
'Kamay National Park'
'Botany Bay – Kamay National Park'
'Kamay – Botany Bay National Park'
'Kamay Botany Bay National Park'
'Botany Bay Kamay National Park'.
It is not possible to use multiple or alternate names such as 'Kamay National Park' and 'Botany Bay National Park' to refer to the same park.
32. The order of dual names and their arrangement should be guided by community preferences as well as stylistic, design and aesthetic considerations. Both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal components of the dual name shall be in the same font, font type, font size, font style and colour.
33. The Geographical Names Board of NSW may assign a dual name to the natural feature after which a park is named. Where such a dual name is registered by the Geographical Names Board of NSW, the park authority will assess whether the park should be renamed in line with the new dual name. However, a Geographical Names Board of NSW registration of a dual name for a feature does not automatically require that the park be renamed with either an Aboriginal or dual name.
34. Requests may be made to the Geographical Names Board of NSW for dual naming of a geographical feature within a park that has high cultural significance.
35. The Geographical Names Board of NSW also requires the written support of the local council for dual naming proposals.
36. Renaming (other than dual naming) will be considered where:
- the current name is not in accordance with this policy
- the spelling of the name is incorrect (unless the current spelling has been in use for a long period of time)
- a non-Aboriginal name is currently used and a new name sourced from Aboriginal communities is proposed
- a wrong or inappropriate Aboriginal name has been used
- local Aboriginal community members object to the use of a name that has been sourced from an Aboriginal language
- the expansion of the park incorporates a more appropriate prominent natural feature
- it is proposed to amalgamate, including through recategorisation, two or more adjacent parks (i.e. apply an existing park name to an adjoining park and discontinue use of name of the park subsumed)
- the current name is being confused with a similar feature in the region.
37. Details of discontinued park names will be submitted to the Geographical Names Board of NSW for registration.