Place Names Committee

Guidelines for NT place naming

The following guidelines have been developed and adopted by the Place Names Committee to assist people to understand the opportunities that apply to place naming in the Northern Territory.

These guidelines apply to all new naming requests and are not intended to apply retrospectively. They are intended to ensure that issues that have arisen as a result of past place naming processes are not repeated.

While the guidelines in no way inhibit the Committee from considering or recommending names which appear to fall outside them, they are guiding principles that, when followed, assist in timely processing and naming outcomes that successfully commemorate the history of the Northern Territory.

For detailed information on how to request a place name read about how places are named or you can contact us.

Show connection to the Territory

Names should demonstrate a strong association with the NT's history, culture, development, events or communities.

Requests should include a detailed explanation of the name and its relationship to the NT including biographical, origin and linguistic information (as appropriate to the type of request).

Don't discriminate

Names must not be discriminatory or derogatory.

Requests to change an existing name on the basis of it being discriminatory or derogatory will be investigated in accordance with the discriminatory or derogatory place names policy.


Consultation on place naming requests is to be carried out by the requestor before submitting the request to the Committee.

Requests must clearly demonstrate that the consultation carried out meets minimum requirements set out in the Place Names Act 1967 and is appropriate to the type of place to be named, the location, ownership and management of the place, and the type/origin of the name requested.

Use people's names appropriately

Names of people will not be used for the naming of a place during their lifetime and will not generally be used within the first year following their death.

Only the names of people considered to be fit and proper for commemoration will be used.

Use of full name

Only the surname of a person being commemorated through a road name, locality name or any other component of a name that forms a part of an address will be used.

Surnames that are comprised of more than one word are acceptable to match their origin, but hyphens will not be used.

The given name/s and surname of a person being commemorated may be used for place names other than those that form a part of an address, including a park, bridge, building or other public infrastructure.

Multiple commemorations of the same person through place naming are discouraged, but are recognised as appropriate in some circumstances.

Don't use promotional or estate names

Promotional or estate names will not be used for a road name, locality name, or any other component of a name that forms part of an address, and are not preferred for other place names, including a park, bridge, building or other public infrastructure.

The use of a promotional or estate name is viewed as a lost opportunity to commemorate another important aspect of the NT's history in an enduring way.

Aboriginal and dual names

Aboriginal names for geographic or topographic features are preferred where a place does not have a name that has previously been registered.

There is strong support for the registration of Aboriginal names or words as a means of acknowledging, respecting and celebrating Aboriginal people’s traditional ownership and connection to country.

Aboriginal words or names from one area, should not, in general, be applied or transposed to another.

Dual names are preferred for geographic or topographic features where a place has a previously registered non-Aboriginal name and there is an Aboriginal name (or names) for the place.

Dual names may also be appropriate where there is a non-Aboriginal name in common or historic recorded usage.

While dual names generally include two parts;  an Aboriginal name and a non-Aboriginal name, it is recognised that in some cases features may have more than one Aboriginal name and the flexibility to apply dual naming principles in the NT context is retained.

Application of other standards

Where relevant, the considerations of the Place Names Committee have regard to the:

including in respect of the selection, language, spelling, characteristic and depiction requirements for place names.

Think long term

Names will be enduring and will only be changed when absolutely necessary.

Careful consideration should be given when making a naming request to ensure there are no cultural limitations or restrictions that might apply in the future that would affect the use of a requested person’s name or word if selected for a place name.

Don't duplicate

Names should not, in general, duplicate or nearly duplicate either in sound or spelling an existing name in the same local government area or an adjacent locality or suburb in an adjoining local government area.