Within Australia, the legislative head of power for place names is distributed across local, state, territory and commonwealth agencies. National coordination and standardisation is achieved through the cooperation of state, territory, and commonwealth jurisdictions, the national mapping agency, and Australia’s National Placenames Survey.
Principles and guidelines
General principles and guidelines have been prepared to assist Australian names authorities in choosing place names. They cover the choice, form and application of place names in Australia and provide each names authority with a basis for developing their own set of guidelines and policies. The document also includes a specific supplementary guideline on consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Download Australia’s Principles for the Consistent use of Place Names
Gazetteers, data, and online searches
The Composite Gazetteer of Australia is a collation of place names data from ten state/territory/commonwealth databases, and a web based portal that allows search, display and download of that data. The infrastructure supporting the collation and presentation of the Composite Gazetteer of Australia is hosted by Geoscience Australia on behalf of the data providers.
Go to the Composite Gazetteer of Australia
Content and functionality of the Composite Gazetteer of Australia will be continually improved. If it doesn’t yet meet your needs please let us know via http://www.ga.gov.au/contact-us so that we can continue to improve. In the interim you may find more extensive information via the individual state and territory gazetteers.
Identifying and contacting Australian names authorities
- For places in the land area and within coastal waters (within 3 nautical miles of the coast) of states, the ACT and NT), contact the relevant state or territory government.
- For places in Australia’s Antarctica Territory, and the Territory of Heard Island and McDonald Islands, including 12 nautical miles from their coasts, contact the Australian Antarctic Division.
- For undersea features within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park,
- For undersea features more than 12 nautical miles off Antarctica, Heard Island or McDonald Island, or more than three nautical miles off the coastlines of the States, the ACT and the NT, but outside the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, contact the Australian Hydrographic Office.
- For anywhere else, places that cross boundaries, or it you’re unsure, please contact us.
Community domain names
Australian community domain names allow for domain names based on the name of a locality and the state or territory. This means websites that enable 'one-stop shops' for all information relating to a local community.
Learn more about Community Domain Names | Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping
Australia is also involved in international conversations and collaborations related to place names such as:
- ICSM’s Australia and New Zealand Working Group on Place Names
- IHO-IOC GEBCO’s Sub-Committee on Undersea Feature Names
- SCAR’s Standing Committee on Antarctic Geographic Information
- ECOSOC United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names