CGNA Annual Forum

Posted by Leonie Dunbar on 8 September 2011

Last week I attended the Committee for Geographical Names of Australasia’s (CGNA’s) Annual Forum in Adelaide.  This was the 4th year in a row we have been invited to update the CGNA on the Community Geographic Domain Name (CGDN) initiative.

You may never have wondered who is responsible for naming rivers, mountains, plains, towns, suburbs, reefs, shoals and undersea features, but we all use place names to describe our surroundings, where we are, where we're going or where we've been.  Each Australian state and territory – including our Antarctic areas of interest and New Zealand  – have a naming board or committee for approving or registering names and the CGNA coordinates these place-naming activities (put simply – they are the authority for geographic naming in Australasia).

In 2003-2004 the CGNA was a member of the auDA National Reference Group which played a high-level policy advisory role to auDA in providing recommendations to the auDA Board on the overall model and system for the new geographic 2LDs.

The database of the placenames for CGDNs available for registration are provided and defined by the CGNA so their role has been, and continues to be, a very important one to the CGDN initiative. In addition, John Tulloch and Paul Harcombe (current and previous members of the CGNA) are also members of the auDA CGDN Advisory Committee.

At this year’s CGNA Annual Forum, I asked the CGNA for their feedback on a particular public submission we received during the last CGDN Policy review that related to placenames.  The request was that the CGDN policy be amended to allow the registration of Local Government Areas (LGAs).   After some discussion, the CGNA concluded that they agreed with the CGDN Advisory Committees’ response that LGAs already have representation in the space and the CGDNs allow towns and suburbs their own unique .au space.  They also agreed that if CGDNs were available for all LGAs, that this could confuse/dilute the relevance and separate identity of the towns/suburbs that have and will register their CGDNs within that LGA.

Also on the agenda was a discussion about how the CGDN communities could potentially utilise the local placename information and histories that the CGNA jurisdictions can provide.  We all agreed that this information on community websites could be of great interest to both their residents and visitors. The CGNA will get back to me with more information so that we can pass it on to these communities as an optional resource for their websites.

I wrapped up my involvement at their forum by reiterating auDA’s gratitude for their continuing support and interest in the CGDNs and hoped to see them the same time next year!