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You Can Now Send Mail Via Australia Post Using Traditional First Nations Place Names

After a campaign led by Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail, Australia Post has outlined exactly how you can acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land your letter is being delivered to.
By Sarah Ward
November 14, 2020
By Sarah Ward
November 14, 2020

This article was written on Yuggera Country. If you'd like to send a physical letter that acknowledges that fact, now you can. Since the end of August this year, Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail has been leading a campaign to get Australia Post to recognise First Nations place names — and this week, coinciding with NAIDOC Week, the government enterprise has released guidelines on how you can include traditional names when you're addressing letters and parcels.

As McPhail outlined in the first post from her @place_names_in_addresses Instagram account on August 31, "every area in this country had an original place name, prior to being given its colonial town/city name, and I believe that it's important to acknowledge this". She explained that she had started including traditional place names when filling in her address in online orders, and noted that it's a small gesture with a meaningful impact. "Adding in the nation or country that you are on is something easy that all Aussies can do to be more inclusive of our Indigenous history. I would love for @auspost to make the original place name a standard part of address information in Australia, the same as your house number and postcode," she commented.

Now, Australia Post have announced that Aussies can follow McPhail's lead — and advised how folks should go about it so that your mail is sorted properly by its electronic letter sorting technology. Whether you're including a traditional place name in the address field or the sender field, or both, you should write it directly underneath the recipient or sender's name. Then, below that, you should then include the street address, town or suburb.


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A post shared by Australia Post (@auspost)

Following this format will ensure that the mailed item is delivered correctly, and without delay, all while acknowledging Australia's traditional owners.

If you're now wondering where to find the appropriate First Nations place name — either for your own address, or for whoever you'd like to send a letter or package to — Australia Post recommends visiting the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies' map of Indigenous Australia on its website, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Councils, or Cultural Centres in your local area.

Speaking to the ABC about Australia Post's guidelines, McPhail said that she is also campaigning for a "comprehensive and accurate database of traditional place names that you can cross reference with post codes, but has been verified by elders in all the communities around Australia".

For more information about Australia Post's addressing guidelines, visit its website. For further details about the campaign to get First Nations place names recognised by Australia Post, head to its Instagram feed.

Published on November 14, 2020 by Sarah Ward
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