What is a “place”?

    The Geographic Place Names Act 1998 defines “place” as “…any place or building that is, or is likely to be, of public or historical interest….  Suburbs, roads, streets, parks, creeks, lakes, hills, hospitals, schools, universities, railway stations and sporting facilities are included.  Private facilities like large shopping centres, industrial or residential unit developments and retirement homes or villages (including roadways within them) also fall within the definition.

    How can I ask for something to be named or renamed?

    Any person or organisation may ask for a place to be named or renamed, or for a locality boundary to be changed.  The request must be made in writing to the Place Names Officer.  It need not be detailed, but must include:

    ·  the name and postal address of the person or organisation making the request,

    ·  enough information to enable the place to be clearly identified,

    ·  the reasons for the request, and

    ·  if a name is suggested, information supporting that name.

    The City of Ballarat may initiate a naming proposal if it is considered desirable.  Note that the City of Ballarat is required to act on requests that are made in the interests of public safety and on situations that could result in significant delays to essential services.*

    *  essential services includes Ambulance Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority, State Emergency Service, Victoria Police and Australia Post.

    What names are acceptable?

    Proposed names must comply with the current Guidelines for Geographic Names, which contain detailed requirements for the selection of new names.  The following is only a very brief summary of the main points:

    ·  Names should be easy to pronounce, spell and write, (exceptions are provided for Indigenous names as these will become easy to pronounce with repeated use over time) and not be offensive when judged against community standards, including those of culturally diverse communities.

    ·  Names should preferably not exceed three words (including the feature or road type) or 25 characters.  Road names should be no longer than 13 characters plus the street type, which is the practical maximum that will fit on a standard street name sign.

    ·  Names for roads must not duplicate or be likely to be confused with existing names within a 15 km radius.  Duplication occurs even if the street type is different and if names are spelt differently but sound similar – for example, White Street, Wyte Court and Wyatt Road all duplicate White Avenue.

    ·  Names of localities (suburbs) must not duplicate any other suburb name within Australia. Residential estate names are considered to be commercial names and are not suitable for suburb names nor must they be promoted as such (p 39 current Guidelines).

    ·  Names of Indigenous origin must be appropriate to the place being named, and their use is subject to approval by the relevant Indigenous community/ies.

    ·  Trade names and the names of commercial businesses, non-profit organisations and living persons should not be used.  Names of deceased persons may be used only where the person had a direct long-term association with the place being named and the person has been deceased for 12 months or more.  (If requesting such a name, please provide an outline of the person’s life and achievements and their connection to the place.)

    ·  Names that include a direction or other expression (eg: North, South, East, West, No 1, No 2, Little, Old, New, Upper or Lower) to distinguish them from a similar name must not be used.

    ·  Names beginning with The (eg: The Avenue) and road names that include a numeral in any format (eg: Ninth View Drive) or a road type (eg: Boulevard Drive) as the name or part of the name are not permitted.

    ·  Unless there is a recognized connection, such as a nearby church or mine, the City of Ballarat discourages road names beginning with St (Saint), as experience shows that they cause confusion.

    ·  Dual destination names (eg: Haddon-Windermere Road) and names that include a hyphen or the word “and” or “&” (eg: Crown & Sceptre Road) may not be used.

    ·  Names of living individuals are to be avoided as community attitudes may change over time. (Exemption may be granted in exceptional circumstances)

    ·  Regarding street names in the suburb of Lucas, preference is for names of persons for whom a tree was

    planted in the Ballarat Avenue of Honour, with preference given to those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

    Where possible, the use of ANZAC Commemorative names (names of those who served in an  operational capacity in the Australian and New Zealand Defence forces), is encouraged.

    Except in areas where road names follow a particular theme (eg: native flora), names that have some historical connection to the area are preferred.

    What if existing names don’t comply with the Guidelines?

    Many existing names don’t comply with the current guidelines, but these will usually only be changed if there are good reasons (eg: confusion with a similar name is actually occurring).  However, the City will progressively replace dual-destination and other long road names with shorter names (eg: Glendaruel-Creswick Road has been renamed Glendonald Road).

    What happens if a new name is proposed?

    If a request for naming, renaming or a boundary change appears to have merit, the City of Ballarat must prepare and advertise a formal naming proposal in accordance with the Geographic Place Names Act 1998.

    A document describing the proposal will be prepared.  As a minimum, this must include:

    • the precise location of the place,
    • the reason for the proposed change,
    • why the proposed name has been put forward, and

    ·  whether any existing property addresses will be affected.

    The proposal will then be advertised in local newspapers, with at least 30 days allowed for public comment.  Details of naming proposals are also usually sent to owners and occupiers of affected properties, if they can be identified and it is reasonably practicable to do so.

    This enables interested individuals and organisations to learn about the proposal and to make submissions.  It also enables Council to make an informed decision, particularly if a number of submissions are received.  Please note that Council cannot consider any naming proposal or individual submission before the public comment period closes, nor can it take newspaper comment (eg: a Letter to the Editor) into account.

    The City of Ballarat encourages all interested persons and organizations to make submissions

    on naming proposals.  To ensure submissions are valid, please read the document

    How to make a submission on a naming proposal, which is available from the City of Ballarat Customer Service Centre, 25 Armstrong Street South, Ballarat Central, Victoria 3350.

    Current naming proposals may be inspected at the City of Ballarat Customer Service Centre.  Copies of naming proposal documents may be obtained free of charge and can be mailed to you if requested.

    What if a proposal changes my address?

    The changes are electronically implemented by the state government but no personal details are released to third parties due to privacy legislation. You will need to change all personal and private contacts.

    You should use your new address as soon as it becomes effective.  Australia Post may continue to recognize old addresses for 6 – 12 months, but cannot guarantee delivery of incorrectly addressed mail.

    The City of Ballarat will not generally reimburse residents or businesses for the costs of notifying change of address or of buying new stationery or house/property numbers.

    How can I get more information?

     Details of specific naming proposals and general information about naming processes can be obtained from City of Ballarat Revenue and Procurement Services.  The current Guidelines for Geographic Names and other information about place names and naming processes can be found on the VicNames website.

    Revenue and Procurement Services

    City of Ballarat

    P O Box 655

    BALLARAT 3353

    Phone: 5320 55500

    Email: info@ballarat.vic.gov.au

    Registrar of Geographic Names,

    P O Box 527

    MELBOURNE 3001

    Phone:   8636 2525

    Website: http://www.dtpli.vic.gov.au