Committee for Geographical Names of Australasia
We all use place names everyday to describe our surroundings, where we’re going or where we’ve been.
Rivers, mountains, plains, towns, suburbs, reefs, shoals and undersea features all have names. Whether they are of national or international importance or known only to a handful of people, names connect places to their local communities and often reflect our heritage and culture.
New Zealand and each Australian state and territory – including our Antarctic areas of interest – have a place name registrar, naming board or committee for approving or registering names. However it is the Committee for Geographical Names of Australasia (CGNA) that coordinates place-naming activities across Australia and New Zealand.
In February 2011 the 2010 National Gazetteer of Australia was released.
In 2009 CGNA, on behalf of UNGEGN, completed the production of a fully revised regional map and gazetteer of Asia South East, Pacific South West.
Teachers Lesson Pack
CGNA has developed an innovative internet based teaching pack for the sharing of information about geographic place names and to promote the significance of geographic place names in the community.
This includes the "What’s in a Name?" Video which highlights the significance of place names and the part they play in everyday life. Starring Ernie Dingo, it tells the story of how places get their names and explains CGNA’s role in looking after them.
On a related topic, the CRC-SI Spatial Information Education Portal can be accessed here.
Our History and Membership
CGNA has produced an informative brochure on place naming in Australia and New Zealand. Significantly, it outlines the achievements of CGNA in ensuring the integrity of place names.
CGNA understands that naming places is something people are passionate about.
Our role is to coordinate and communicate the consistent use of place names to ensure they meet the requirements of the whole community, including government bodies and emergency services; and also indigenous people.
The Committee for Geographical Names of Australasia (CGNA) was formed in 1984 to coordinate place naming activities across Australia and New Zealand. In 1993, we became a standing committee within the Intergovernmental Committee on Surveying and Mapping (ICSM) with the support of Geoscience Australia.
Our members come from Australian state and territory naming boards and committees, New Zealand and other organisations with a role and interest in place naming, including the:
- Australian National Placenames Survey
- Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
- Australian Antarctic Division
- Australian Hydrographic Office
- Department of Defence
Through CGNA, Australia and New Zealand participate in the activities of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names (UNGEGN) and contribute to world best practice in the management of place names.