Steve Irwin Way, off the M1 at Beerburrum, honours the late Crocodile Hunter.
Steve Irwin Way, off the M1 at Beerburrum, honours the late Crocodile Hunter.

Why stop at renaming Lady Cilento?

WHAT'S in a name change?

Obviously if you are trying to gain international recognition or raise funds for a hospital, plenty.

But with administrators of the Lady Cilento Hospital getting quotes on the cost of new letterhead even as we speak, it's probably time to think about other Queensland names that could do with a once-over.

Now just as with the change of name for the hospital, not everyone will agree on the need for a new moniker, but I doubt you would get too many arguments from the residents of Bogan St, Albion.

And put yourself in the shoes of the people who live in Bonar St, Morningside, Wanka Rd, Cecil Plains or Woollybutt St, New Auckland as they give their address to a hard-of-hearing receptionist in a crowded waiting room.

"No, it's Woolly with two l's and butt … B-U-T-T …"

But not all changes would be warranted on the grounds of social embarrassment. Some names, bestowed many years ago under accepted norms of the day, are now politically incorrect in the extreme.

It took campaigners eight years to finally see the end of the 50 year-old ES Nigger Brown Stand at Toowoomba Showground and then only because it was demolished due to structural defects in 2007.

The name was deemed racist by some, while others pointed out that the nickname of footballer and civic leader Edward Stanley Brown related to a once popular brand of boot polish, rather than any racial connotation.

Which raises the question: then how come you can't buy that brand of boot polish anymore?

Just last month it was announced that ten other sites bearing the N-word, all in Northern Queensland, would be renamed.

These included an N-word Bounce, an N-word Head, seven N-word Creeks and Mount N-word.

Stephen Hagan successfully campaigned to rename the ‘Nigger’ Brown Stand at Toowoomba’s Clive Berghoger Stadium (formerly Athletic Oval).
Stephen Hagan successfully campaigned to rename the ‘Nigger’ Brown Stand at Toowoomba’s Clive Berghoger Stadium (formerly Athletic Oval).

Other names with racial roots include Boundary St at West End and Spring Hill, so named to signify the virtual barrier separating Brisbane's original indigenous inhabitants from the white settlers.

One of Queensland's least attractive place-names is Murdering Creek at Weyba Downs on the Sunshine Coast, with the sign to Murdering Creek Rd both fascinating and frightening children being driven to and from their Noosa Heads holidays for generations.

The name commemorates the massacre of a group of Aborigines in the 1880s by seven men led by a local policeman and the owner of a nearby cattle station.

Another name which has been criticised for its racial connotation is the town of Gin Gin near Bundaberg, although in fact it has nothing to with the disparaging term once used to describe an indigenous woman.

The town is actually named after Gingin, the original property on which it stands and which in turn was named after an Aboriginal word meaning 'red soil, thick scrub'.

There is no debate over the origins of the name of one Queensland landmark which some might think could do with a change.

Hinze Dam was named for Queensland’s controversial former ‘minister for everything’.
Hinze Dam was named for Queensland’s controversial former ‘minister for everything’.

Cherbourg's Bjelke-Petersen Dam, in honour of long-serving Premier Sir Joh might have seemed like a no-brainer at the time, but with his reputation since tainted by allegations of corruption, maybe it wasn't such a good idea.

Likewise Hinze Dam on the Gold Coast. While it wasn't named after Sir Joh's deputy Big Russ specifically - rather his family which once owned the land around it - there is no question who comes to mind whenever it is mentioned.

And with Russ dying before he could face trial on his own corruption charges, one must ask if a better name could be found.

Of course, finding a suitable new name for an established place or landmark is easier said than done.

What seems obvious now might one day seem outdated and even odd.

Imagine trying to explain the relevance of Steve Irwin Way to a schoolchild in 50 or 60 years' time.

"He was a TV star back in the 1990s. Owned a zoo. Caught crocodiles. Said 'Crikey' a lot …"

"And they named a road after him? Crikey."

Steve Irwin Way, off the M1 at Beerburrum, honours the late Crocodile Hunter.
Steve Irwin Way, off the M1 at Beerburrum, honours the late Crocodile Hunter.


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