The assignment of names to places in Tasmania - including the constitution and operation of the Nomenclature Board - is regulated under provisions of the Survey Co-ordination Act 1944
History of the Board
The need for detailed, accurate maps of Tasmania was highlighted during World War II. In 1950, an advisory board was set up to assist the Surveyor-General on matters of nomenclature arising from the State's developing mapping programs.
In 1953, an amendment to the Act formally recognised the advisory board and established the Nomenclature Board on a permanent basis. The Board held its first meeting in February 1954.
Processes established under the Act enable the coordinated and orderly allocation and management of place names, ensuring that this primary identifier of geographical features is clear and concise for use by the whole community.
The Board consists of ten members, including the Surveyor-General as Chairman. Five members are senior officers appointed from the Tasmanian Government agencies responsible for mapping, planning, forestry, mines and hydroelectricity. Four other persons are appointed for a three year term on the nomination of the relevant Minister. The Board is served by a Secretary appointed from within the Office of the Surveyor-General in the Department of' Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.
The Board is responsible for:
- considering matters concerning geographical nomenclature in Tasmania, including the origin, priority and usage of geographical names
- adopting rules of toponymy, orthography and nomenclature.
The Board is also authorised to:
- assign names to any places in Tasmania
- determine the spelling to be adopted for those names
- determine names to be included or omitted from official maps and records
- compile and maintain a register of place names.
Although the Board's statutory responsibilities and functions are extensive, in certain circumstances it retains only a residual power to assign a name. For example, place names created as a result of specific legislation take precedence over the Board's more general statutory powers.
The Board is not
responsible for naming urban streets situated within proclaimed cities or towns - this is the responsibility of the relevant local government authority (council). However, when a new urban street name is assigned, the council is bound to notify the Nomenclature Board of that assignment within 40 days. Councils are bound by the same rules
as the Board when making decisions regarding the assignment of names to streets within proclaimed towns.
Nomenclature Office and Board procedures
The Nomenclature Office provides executive support to the Board, administers the official records and ensures that statutory processes for the formal assignment of names are followed. The Office receives notices and proposals for the assignment of names, processes and submits these to the Board for consideration.The Board's role
- consider whether or not there is a place (road, locality, geographical feature etc.) that warrants the assignment of a name, and if so, the extent of the application of a name is considered
- determine the appropriateness of the proposed name, based on the application of Rules for Place Names in Tasmania, and subsequently approve or reject the proposed name.
After examination and approval of a proposal for the assignment or
alteration of a place name, formal notice of the Board's intention is published
in the Tasmanian Government Gazette and made available on the DPIPWE Government
website. The Board also maintains an email distribution list, whereby a
party can be added by sending a message to the Secretary, address below, with
the title Email Alert
Any person wishing to object to a decision of the Board must do so in writing, stating the grounds for objection, and lodge that objection with the Board Secretary within one month following the publication of the Board's Notice of Intention to assign or alter that place name. If no objection is received, the Board publishes formal confirmation of its decision to assign or alter the name.
Any objection is considered by the Board at its earliest opportunity, and the details of the objection, together with the Board's recommendation, are submitted to the Minister for final decision. The Minister's decision is subsequently gazetted and is not subject to appeal.
Proposals for new names, or changes in the application of existing names, should be submitted through the Place Names Tasmania website
or in writing to the Board Secretary. All submissions should be properly documented with the location of the feature identified on a map, sketch or photograph. The submission should also include information on the spelling, origin and usage of the name. See Processes for Naming Places
Some errors may occur in the assignment of official place names, either through simple mistakes or decisions made without sufficient or accurate information. The Board encourages and welcomes any reliable, documented information that may assist with the rectification of such errors.
Nomenclature is defined as a set or system of names or terms, as those used in a particular art or science by an individual or community. It stems from the Latin word 'nomen', meaning name. The word has at least two pronunciations: one being with the emphasis on the first part of the word (as no men...) and the other with the main emphasis on the suffix (...clature).
Orthography is defined as the art of writing words with the proper letters, according to accepted usage; correct spelling.
Toponymy is the practice of assigning names to places.
In this context, 'place' includes any town, township, mining district, area of land, locality, mountain, hill, peak, pass, glen, valley, forest, river, stream, creek, ford, lake, lagoon, marsh, bay, harbour, cape, promontory, railway station, road or other topographical feature. Places such as districts or towns were often originally named by the community's perception of the area or after a predominant geographical feature.