From little things big things grow!
21/07/21 By Rosalind Bradley: WRN member
Congratulations to Gomeroi woman Rachel McPhail who successfully campaigned Australia Post for First Nations place names to be on our mail.
Soon we will see First Nations place names on our mail due to Rachel McPhail’s inspiring campaign she began in August 2020. Rachel skilfully managed to convince Australia Post to include Traditional names of Country on their packaging. The idea came from her Social Work studies which encouraged her to think through an Indigenous lens. What a fantastic idea and result!
During NAIDOC week 2021, Australia Post launched newly designed Parcel and Express Post envelopes which includes a specific space for Traditional place names. It contains the line: Traditional place name (if known) under the Contact Name and above the Street Address. There is also a dedicated spot on the back of the envelope.
Australia post endorsed the idea last November, but it became official during NAIDOC week. Naturally Rachel is delighted and is grateful for Australia Post’s Indigenous team. In an online ABC News article (5/7/21) Rachel said, “For every town, for every place in this country, we have an original name, and it’s important to use them as a celebration and to recognise the history and the connection of First People to country.”
The harder work now comes in compiling a national database of all traditional place names which is verified by elders and community leaders. Currently the 1996 AIATSIS map is the best resource https://aiatsis.govhttps://aiatsis.gov.au/explore/map-indigenous-australia.au/explore/map-indigenous-australia. However, there are inaccuracies and discrepancies with elders. Rachel says her goal is to have this database created which would give the elders a voice.
Let’s hope this campaign will help Australians understand more about the world’s oldest living culture and their relationship to Country. WRN offers their congratulations to Rachel for this successful initiative. Rachael’s Instagram is place_names_in_addresses .