Australia Post to support use of Aboriginal place names on mail

A sample address with an Aboriginal name
Aboriginal activists had been campaigning to include traditional place names in addresses

Australia Post says it will support the optional use of Aboriginal place names on mail addresses, following a large grassroots campaign, the national mail service changed it’s guidelines this week to include advice on how to include traditional names.

While some areas are known by their original names, many Australians often have little knowledge of place names that pre-date European settlement, activists welcomed the endorsement of their push for greater awareness. Aboriginal woman Rachael McPhail started the campaign on social media in August, noting Aboriginal people had lived in Australia for at least 60,000 years. “Every area in this country had an original place name prior to being given it’s colonial town/city name, and I believe that it’s important to acknowledge this,” she said, close to 15,000 people have signed her petition.

“These are excellent first steps towards social change, so thank you again to all of you for signing the petition and emailing Australia Post,” Ms McPhail said. In it’s new guidelines, Australia Post says mail senders can include original names to “acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land your item is being delivered on”. It advises people to identify place names from an official database, and to put it on the second line of the address, after the sender’s name and before the street address.

An Australia Post mock-up of address lines including a traditional place name
An example of how to include a traditional place name in the address lines

It also plans to introduce envelopes and packaging printed with an “Acknowledgement of Country” message a standard statement in Australia which acknowledges the local people’s connection to the land. Ms McPhail said she would continue to lobby Australia Post to create a national database of traditional place names, through consulting with Aboriginal elders. In order to achieve true social change and decolonization of the address system within Australia, we need Australia Post to undertake this project, she said.

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