Four years after names such as N****rs Bounce were wiped from the map in Queensland, another place name that symbolises Australia’s dark past is about to go.  

Black Gin Creek is a new name in the Outback Town of Longreach. 

The Darumbal people say it’s a ‘racist’ way to describe an Aboriginal woman and approve of its new name Watyakan Creek.  

Kerry Thompson who is a health specialist, said that he knew about Black Gin Creek for 60 years. 

Black Gin Creek's name (pictured) is about to be changed to Watyakan Creek

Black Gin Creek’s name (pictured) is about to be changed to Watyakan Creek

It was also known that way in the time of my grandparents. This name has been racist for Aboriginal peoples, and especially our people here. “We saw it as derogatory.

But, Ms Thompson and other Indigenous Australians have been able get Queensland’s Longreach Regional Council changed the name. 

“A lot history revolved around why these names were chosen, due to the atrocities committed and that we cannot deny. 

As a custodian, Ms Thompson was asked by Longreach’s Aboriginal elder to join the fight to change the name.    

“He invited me to join him in support of him at a council meeting that was organized by the council. The council had received a complaint that the name of the victim was inappropriate and asked if it could be changed.

Ms. Thomspon felt that this was an opportunity to rectify a historic wrong. She said that for many years Aboriginal people had voiced concerns over the Creek’s name, but it was ignored. 

The new name will be Watyakan Creek – meaning Women’s Creek – which pays tribute to the women who historically camped near it. 

Health coordinator Kerry Thompson (pictured) worked to have the name Black Gin Creek changed by Longreach Regional Council

Health coordinator Kerry Thompson (pictured) worked to have the name Black Gin Creek changed by Longreach Regional Council

I acknowledge Longreach Regional Council’s tremendous efforts. “I’m all for reconciliation,” Ms Thompson stated.   

Des Crump is an Indigenous Language Fellow at the University of Queensland who was part of the creation of this new name.

He said that it was encouraging for Longreach to take the initiative to address it, and that it might encourage other councils in similar situations to consider some name changes.

Aunty Sally Vea Vea Vea of Darumbal said there were many places in Queensland with racist names that needed to change, such as other Black Gin Creeks.

She said, “They are just memorials of a racist past.” 

Longreach Regional Council currently does not have any plan to change the name of Chinaman Creek (pictured)

Longreach Regional Council has no plans at the moment to change Chinaman Creek’s name (pictured).

You will also find such names in many other states. One example is the Chinamans Beach, located in Sydney’s suburb of Mosman. It is where some of the richest people live.  

Tony Rayner of Longreach is delighted with Black Gin Creek’s name change. It was “a bit offensive for some”.

However, he does not expect to see any name changes for the area that includes Chinaman Creek.

He said, “It depends on whether anybody was offended by it.”

“But you must be realistic – this one wouldn’t offend many people.” It is a little bit subject to interpretation,’ he told ABC’s Danielle O’Neal and Erin Semmler.

The controversially named Chinamans Beach (pictured) is in the Sydney suburb of Mosman, home to some of the wealthiest people in Australia

Chinamans Beach, controversially named (pictured), is located in Sydney’s suburb of Mosman. It is home to many of Australia’s wealthiest citizens.

Ten Queensland offensive names were removed from the Queensland list in 2017 after widespread public pressure.

After concern was raised about N****rs Bounce, south-west of Townsville, the Natural Resources and Mines Department launched a review into location names across the state.

Nine others – Mount N****r, N****r Head and seven instances of N****r Creek – were found to be ‘similarly offensive’ and were scrapped and renamed.

Uluru, in the Northern Territory is an example of a place named being changed to Indigenous. It was previously called Ayers Rock.