Geographical Names Board of New South Wales

The Geographical Names Board of New South Wales, a statutory authority of the Department of Customer Service in the Government of New South Wales,[1] is the official body for naming and recording details of places and geographical names in the state of New South Wales, Australia.

Geographical Names Board of New South Wales
Statutory authority overview
JurisdictionNew South Wales
HeadquartersPanorama Avenue, Bathurst
Minister responsible
Parent DepartmentDepartment of Customer Service
Key document

Whilst the board is an independent body, it is responsible to the general manager of land and property information, currently Des Mooney (presently chairman of the board); who reports to the director general of the Department of Finance and Services, currently Michael Coutts-Trotter. Both the general manager for land and property information and the director general of the department report to the Minister for Finance and Services, currently Greg Pearce.

The board was established in 1966 pursuant to the Geographical Names Act 1966.[2]

Board compositionEdit

The board consists of nine members, four of which are those people who hold the office of, or are a respective nominee of:

The other members are nominated by:

  • the Local Government and Shires Association of New South Wales,
  • the Royal Australian Historical Society,
  • the Geographical Society of New South Wales,
  • the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, and
  • the Chairperson of the Community Relations Commission.


The Geographical Names Act, 1966, empowers the board to assign names to places, to investigate and determine the form, spelling, meaning, pronunciation, origin and history of any geographical name and the application of such name with regard to position, extent or otherwise.

A place is described in the Act as "any geographical or topographical feature or any district, division, locality, region, city, town, village, settlement or railway station or any other place within the territories and waters of the State of New South Wales but does not include any road, any local government area, urban area, county or district under the Local Government Act, electoral district or subdivision, or any school". The Act also specifies the procedures for formalising names.

In recent years the board has been given the power to preserve and promote Aboriginal languages and acknowledge Aboriginal culture through place naming in NSW. The board does this by preferencing traditional Aboriginal place names or names with Aboriginal origin wherever it can. The board is dedicated to restoring traditional Aboriginal names to features with introduced names through its dual naming policy and recognising important traditional Aboriginal placenames alongside longstanding introduced names.[3]

The board's policy mirrors the United States Board on Geographic Names in that it seeks to eliminate possessive names from all place names in NSW. Roads called Smith's Road are changed to Smiths Road or Smith Road.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "About Us". Geographical Names Board of NSW. Retrieved 28 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Geographical Names Act, 1966 (NSW)". Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  3. ^ "Traditional placenames". Geographical Names Board. Government of New South Wales. 2009. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 20 November 2011.

External linksEdit