The Queensland government says Blackfellows creek and Black G** Creek are set to formally return to Indigenous names as a dark history of the area is attempted to be diminished.
Dijana Damjanovic, Tanisha Stanton

14 Jul 2022 - 11:26 AM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2022 - 11:47 AM

Two creeks, which were given racist names during 19th century Australia, are on their way to being renamed after a push from local Aboriginal communities in Queensland.

"Blackfellows Creek" near Cairns first appeared on the map in about 1883 but local elders from the area said it's been known by the Yidiny name of Bana Gindarja, which means Cassowary, for thousands of years.

"Black G** Creek," also started to appear in maps of Longreach at the same time.

The word "g**" is a derogatory word for an Aboriginal woman. 

Bidjara, Kara Kara and South Sea Islander woman Kerry Thompson said the name does not reflect the women who resided there during that time.

“For Aboriginal people, and especially women, that term is to us derogatory, it's racist, it's offensive, it's demeaning, it's harmful,” she said.

It’s believed that the creek, on the outskirts of town, was given its name by white settlers because at the time Indigenous people were not allowed to live in town with the non-indigenous people.

Iningai and Bidjara people of the area have requested the name be changed to Watyakan creek, an Iningai word meaning women’s creek.

“The idea was not to just wipe that name altogether and name it by a flora or fauna name, which you do see around some of the places, but I wanted to go further than that and have those, 'g**s' as they would say, be recognised for the right reasons,” Ms Thompson said.

The plan to change both of the creek’s names is now up for community consultation, with the public encouraged to make a submission until September 9, 2022.

Both the Queensland and Federal Labor government have expressed support for the name change.

Federal Resources Minister, Scott Stewart said the Queensland Government will keep working with First Nations communities to change other insensitive place names.