Indigenous names for locations significant to Aboriginal people across Tasmania will be put forward for consideration this week.
Aboriginal history and naming of places have been thrust into the spotlight across Australia after the vandalism of settlement statues in Sydney and the abolition of locations containing the N-word in Queensland.
Last week Queensland’s Department of Natural Resources and Mines moved to abolish ten locality names that featured the word.
On the North-West Coast of Tasmania, N-----head Rock and Suicide Bay near Cape Grim, are two of several locations that painfully feature in Aboriginal history.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre palawa kani program coordinator Annie Reynolds and her team have been pushing to restoring authentic place names “so the language can be spoken again”.
On Thursday, 11 proposed Aboriginal names will go before the Nomenclature Board of Tasmania for consideration.
Nine proposed Indigenous names for places on the North-West Coast, near Cape Grim, were related to locations connected to a massacre in 1828 where about 30 people were killed and thrown from a cliff face.
The palawa kani team has been pushing for the authentic Aboriginal names of those places – spoken to a recorder by a man who observed the massacre – to be instated.
“It’s an important gesture of cultural sharing and generosity given the events that took place in a lot of these places – particularly at Cape Grim,” Mrs Reynolds said.
“It’s a two-way process of reconciliation in action.”
In Tasmania 200 years ago between six and 12 known languages, but possibly more, were spoken.
“It’s been extremely important – since the early 1990s, or earlier – to reclaim this language, to restore it and since then three generations of children have grown up learning it and speaking it,” she said.
“It’s a push that will not be denied – people have embraced it.”
In June the state government announced a review into the Aboriginal and Dual Naming Policy.
Deputy Premier Jeremy Rockliff said the government considers requests for new or changed place names on a regular basis.
“It is the role of the independent nomenclature board to review and assess any requests to change place names in Tasmania,” he said.
The board is expected to make a decision next week.