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How to include traditional place names when you're posting Christmas gifts this year

Australia Post has backed the use of First Nations country names on all mail – here's how to do it right

Written by
Divya Venkataraman

How well do you know your country? If you think 'well', but your knowledge doesn't extend to the First Nations place names for the cities, towns and suburbs around Australia yet, this could be a good time to learn. 

A campaign led by Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail to recognise and support the use of traditional First Nations place names in postal addresses got a big boost last week – fittingly, during NAIDOC Week – when Australia Post endorsed the use of traditional names in a statement and published an example letter outlining where the text should fit in a postal address.

"I wanted [Australia Post] to publicly support a campaign to include traditional place names in addresses and a general acknowledgement of country printed on all of its pre-paid packaging," McPhail said to the ABC.

So how can you include a traditional place name when you're sending off festival parcels this year? First, find the place name you're looking for at the AIATSIS website.

Then, take a look at Australia Post's addressing guidelines. Their sample letter (which you can find here) notes that when you're addressing a parcel or letter, you should write the traditional place name after the recipient's name, but before the street address, suburb or town. So, it'd look something like this. 

[First name] [Last name] 
[Traditional place name]
[Street number] [Street name] 
[Place] [State] [Postcode]

"At Australia Post, we have a long and proud history of promoting and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Culture and implementing measures that contribute to a lasting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians," Australia Post wrote. 

While McPhail has secured a win with their acknowledgement, she's not quite done yet. "The third thing which is going to be the biggest part of this is to collate a comprehensive and accurate database of traditional place names that you can cross-reference with postcodes, but has been verified by elders in all the communities around Australia," she said to the ABC. Good luck to her. 

Hear words in 66 First Nations languages via this cool, interactive map

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