Last year, Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail started a change.org petition, calling on Australia Post to codify a comprehensive and accurate database of Traditional Place names, by consulting with Elders and First Nations knowledge holders on each Country.
This week, as part of NAIDOC Week, Australia Post unveiled new parcel packaging that includes a dedicated space for the inclusion of traditional Aboriginal place names.
Australia Post is also celebrating First Nations art by wrapping street postal boxes in indigenous artwork with a design created by Marcus Lee, Darwin-based, Karajarri artist.
In a statement released on Monday, McPhail outlined the reason for her petition, adding that she was delighted to see Australia Post build on her idea. She encouraged citizens to expand their knowledge of Indigenous heritage and use traditional place names when sending letters and parcels.
“This is about paying respect to First Nations people, and their continuing connection to country,” McPhail said. “If everyone adopts this small change, it will make a big difference.”
Last November, Australia Post publicly endorsed McPhail’s campaign to include Indigenous place names on addresses, releasing guidelines on how to include Traditional place names on their letter and parcels.
Noongar man Chris Heelan, who is Australia Post’s National Indigenous Manager, said they received “overwhelming feedback from thousands of Australians” about the campaign.
“We not only listened to Rachael, but to the overwhelming feedback from thousands of Australians who supported this fantastic concept to recognise traditional country on their mail,” he said.
“Including the traditional place name as part of the mailing address is a simple but meaningful way to promote and celebrate our Indigenous communities, which is something Australia Post has a long and proud history of doing.”
The new parcel post designs and express post satchels also include an acknowledgment of country and a nominated line below the recipient’s name to include a traditional place name above the street address and postcode.
Traditional place names can also be used on letters, as long as they appear above the street address and postcode.
For tips on how to identify Traditional Place names and First Nations localities, as well as sending guidelines, check Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land Councils (AIATSIS) or Cultural Centres in your local area.
This week’s NAIDOC Week 2021 runs from July 4 to 11, with the theme “Heal Country!”
Image: Rachael McPhail (Instagram)