• A number of place names in Queensland have been linked to slavery, massacres and racism. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
Government department reviews racist place names after community concerns about the N word.
By
NITV Staff Writer

29 Aug 2017 - 11:29 AM  UPDATED 29 Aug 2017 - 12:31 PM

The Queensland Natural Resources and Mines Department has begun a review of place names in its database following complaints in May about the offensive place name "N****** Bounce" in north Queensland.

There are a number of other racist names in the state including Mount N*****, N***** Head and seven instances of N***** Creek.

University of Queensland research fellow Jonathan Richards told Fairfax media that history needed to be updated to reflect historical truths.

"Some 'pioneers' killed many people," he said.

"The broader community needs to learn more about our true history - not the 'whitewashed versions' - because as long as memorials to frontier 'heroes' remain place and uncorrected, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are constantly reminded of the cruel and violent racism of Australia's past."

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Moves are under way to change other place names such as Mount Wheeler which is believed to have been named after the perpetrator of a massacre of Indigenous people and Jim Crow Mountain, believed to be a reference to the racist US name for African Americans.

A spokesman for the for the Department of Natural Resources and Mines said current policy allowed for changing the names and that this latest move came after public complaints.

"In May 2017, following community concern about the offensive name N****** Bounce in North Queensland, the Department removed reference to that name from all current data bases," he told NITV News.

"The Department then commenced a proactive review of the place names database that identified nine other place names that had a similarly offensive term and on 14 August 2017 discontinued those place names as well."

It comes after last week Indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant called for the inscription on a Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park re-examined, claiming it's a damaging lie that is offensive to Aboriginal people.

The inscription in Hyde Park says the English explorer discovered Australia, which Grant said tells Aboriginal people that before 1770 they did not exist.

"My ancestors were here when Cook dropped anchor. We know now that the first peoples of this continent had been here for at least 65,000 years, for us the beginning of human time," he wrote.

Statues of Confederate Generals are being removed in the US because of their association with slavery. In a column he wrote for ABC, Grant said he doesn't want the Cook statue removed, just corrected.

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"Yet this statue speaks to emptiness, it speaks to our invisibility; it says that nothing truly mattered, nothing truly counted until a white sailor first walked on these shores."

Speaking on ABC Radio national this morning the head of the Department of Indigenous Studies at Macquarie University, Bronwyn Carlson, said: "Most Indigenous people will call for statues to be removed".

"Everyone is talking about this now like it has just happened, Indigenous people have been calling for the removal of colonial statues that celebrate and remember the genocide and massacres of indigenous people for a long time." 

Yesterday opposition leader Bill Shorten joined the debate saying that changing plaques on monuments like the Cook statue was appropriate in order to correct the historical record.

“This country works best when we work together so an additional plaque on Captain Cook’s statue is fine by me,” Mr Shorten said.

He said that acknowledging all of our history was not a threat to anyone.

“Our history didn’t start when Captain Cook sailed into sight of Australia in 1770,” he said.

“I think there are quite a few people who just want to demonise the debate about Aboriginal Australian history and say it is a threat to all our other history. It’s not."

“K’Gari is the new interactive doco from SBS that explores the real history behind Fraser Island. The online interactive animation can be accessed here: sbs.com.au/kgari”

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