You may or may not have noticed there are a lot of street names in Wollongong that recognise dead white men.
And there are very few that are named after women or Indigenous people.
Wollonong City Council has realised this and is going to change it.
Councillors voted, at Monday’s council meeting, to amend the Road Naming Policy to use relevant local, cultural, historic or natural themes when naming road to ensure there is gender equality.
Greens councillor Mithra Cox has welcomed the amended policy because she was fed up with street names that only memorialised men.
“In Wollongong there are six streets named after Alberts, eight James, four Davids, nine variations on Robert and a ridiculous 15 variations on George including those named after George Fuller, George Hanley, George Cheadie, George Evans and George Tate,” she said.
“If you judged us by our street names, you would assume that there were either hardly any women living in our city, or that they made no contribution to our public life.
“The only woman memorialised who even comes close is Victoria, who gets four streets named after her.
“Though presumably these are named after Queen Victoria, so our local women still don’t get a guernsey.”
Cr Cox said it was about time the policy was reviewed and that it included a requirement for gender equality and pre-settlement history to be considered when names were chosen.
“I have been on the council one year, and in that time we have named a few streets: where streets have been named after a person, we have been given the option to choose from 13 men’s names, just one woman’s name,” she said.
“Aboriginal names are the preferred names for parks and localities because of State Government policy, but street namings are different.
“In the past 12 months of street namings, there has been just one Aboriginal name included as an option, Djera lane - and it was dropped in favour of the first white settler to Helensburgh.
“This is a clear an unreasonable bias that explains why we have such a huge gender and cultural imbalance in our street names in Wollongong.
“Obviously our road naming policy needs to change in order to address this huge cultural and gender bias in the way we memorialise people who have made a contribution to our city - and the Aboriginal people who lived here for thousands of years.
“We should always be given Aboriginal place names and women’s names as options when we are making these decisions.”