EIGHT features of Newcastle – including Nobbys Head, Hunter River and the port – would be given twin names under a plan to recognise Aboriginal history.
Newcastle councillors voted unanimously yesterday to endorse an application to the Geographical Names Board for the proposal.
A council report said giving geographical features Aboriginal names was a ‘‘reconciliation initiative’’.
‘‘The Aboriginal name does not replace the European name in the dual naming process,’’ the report said. ‘‘Each name is recognised in its own right.’’
Both names would be shown on signs and maps.
‘‘The name most likely to be used by the community is placed first in the sequence,’’ the report said.
Council or grant funding would be used to put names on signposts, maps and guides once names were gazetted.
The twin-name plan mirrors the dual naming of Ayers Rock with its Aboriginal name Uluru.
Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee, which advises Newcastle council on indigenous matters, created the proposal.
Cr Therese Doyle, a Guraki committee member, said the plan was terrific.
‘‘It makes Newcastle that much more interesting,’’ she said.
Newcastle should have many more Aboriginal names, Cr Doyle said.
Lord mayor Jeff McCloy sounded a note of caution, saying the council must be careful because ‘‘there could be no end to this’’.
Dual names should be limited to sacred sites, he said.
Cr Nuatali Nelmes said the plan was ‘‘something we need to celebrate’’ and would be good for education.
Linguist Sophie Nicholls said the first documented reference to Nobbys Head with the Aboriginal name Whibayganba was found in a Sir Thomas Mitchell sketch in 1828.
Dr Nicholls said Matthew Flinders, the first person to circumnavigate Australia, recorded the Aboriginal name Yohaaba for the port at Newcastle during voyages from 1798 to 1803.
‘‘It is likely that his source was Bungaree, an Aboriginal man from Broken Bay,’’ she said.
European name - planned Aboriginal name
Nobbys Head Whibayganba
Flagstaff Hill Tahlbihn Point
Pirate Point (Stockton) Burrabihngarn
Port Hunter (Newcastle Harbour, The Basin, Throsby Basin, North Harbour, Port Waratah and Fullerton Cove) Yohaaba
Hunter River Coquun
Shepherds Hill Khanterin
Ironbark Creek Toohrnbing
Hexham Swamp Burraghihnbihng