THEY’RE not about to change ‘Graham Street’ to ‘Agnes Street’.
But a campaign is building to address the place names gender gap that exists in Bass Coast with the shire looking to acknowledge local, notable women when naming new streets and places.
Bass Coast Shire CEO Ali Wastie said that the #puthernameonit campaign, spearheaded by Women in Gippsland, is aimed at honouring and recognising the great women who have helped shape Gippsland.
In turn, the shire has been praised for warmly embracing the initiative.
“The campaign has begun to address the under-representation of women in place names, right across Gippsland,” Ms Wastie said.
“At Council, our Place Names Committee aims to work with local historical societies and community groups to identify local, notable women who we would like to honour and recognise, by ‘putting her name on it.
“In recent years, Gilmour Track in Cape Paterson was named in honour of Annie Gilmour, a valued member of the lifesaving club who taught many to swim and survive in the ocean; and Davidson Place Wonthaggi was named in honour of Ruby May Davidson, who owned and ran the farm ‘Mayfield’ from 1935, supplying the local community with her hand made produce.”
Ms Wastie said the committee is also working on a Gender Audit, with 1500 road names to be assessed, as well as an unknown number of named features to be searched for.
“The reality is, the majority of places, buildings, ovals and pavilions are named after men, and while this project is not about undoing history, it is about taking the opportunity when we can, to acknowledge the women who helped make Bass Coast what it is today,” Ms Wastie said.
“It is a lengthy and difficult process to re-name existing streets or places, so we are taking the approach of naming new streets and new places after women as part of this campaign.
“The research we are doing is great, but the most important thing is to start seeing the names of women in the community for all to recognise. This is where the change will be made,” Ms Wastie concluded.
We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first Australians and recognise that they have a unique relationship with the land and water.