PCPN - How Do You Name a Place?

Each year, naming authorities receive proposals for new or altered place names.  For more information about these contact the appropriate PCPN member.

These proposals may have been initiated by a member of the public and approved by a local council or other responsible naming authority.  Ultimately the proposal is forwarded to the relevant naming authority for endorsement and inclusion in a register or gazetteer of official place names.

Generally, naming authorities use their own geographical naming guidelines to assess a proposal before the new or altered place name becomes official.  These guidelines are supported by national guidelines produced by PCPN.

Once a place is officially named, it is important to use that name to identify the place.

For example, suburb and locality names form part of your address and are used for essential services such as reliable mail delivery and rapid emergency response.  The correct use of place names is also important for map and atlas production, navigation and tourism.

Each naming authority has its own legislation and guidelines for recording place names in its registers or gazetteers.  Some registers and gazetteers include variant names and historical names for places and features.  Others may include unofficial names that were never formally assigned through the relevant place–naming legislation.

Whatever their status and origin, place names will continue to be preserved as records of our history and culture.