Place Names of South-East Queensland



The place names listed here are arranged alphabetically. The area covered is that extending from Hervey Bay to the New South Wales border and from the Leichhardt Highway to the Pacific Ocean. You will find some references to physical features, but the emphasis is rather on towns, cities and suburbs.

Place names gain official recognition through the Queensland Place Names Board, and, as such, they reflect the experiences and decisions of people in the dominant culture. In other words they have their origin with white Australians rather than with the Aboriginal inhabitants. Being an oral culture, the names used by the Aboriginal tribes have largely been lost, and where an attempt has been made to retain them there is now frequently dispute as to their meaning or correct pronunciation.

The use of names with Aboriginal roots adds something distinctive to the Australian identity. The Rev. Dr. John Dunmore Lang pleaded for the use of native names. He said, ‘Why should the names of itinerant officials be associated with such places, or worse still, those of politicians overseas who were never likely to see them?’ Not everyone agreed with the fiery cleric.

Many names have an Anglo-Saxon or Celtic background reflecting the origins of the most influential settlers. In spite of attempts to obliterate German references during the two world wars, some German influences live on. Many place names in South-East Queensland commemorate individuals or their places of origin. Some get their names from early properties, others from marketing promotions. Many were given by the Railway Department as it established sidings and stations in the late nineteenth century period of expansion. Some commemorate historical events. Others are descriptive of natural features in the area.

Many sources have been consulted in discovering the origins of the place names listed. Sometimes authorities differ over the meaning or origin of a name. Strenuous attempts have been made at accuracy, but there are omissions. If you have information or are able to direct me to additional sources which would add to the information gathered here, please contact me.

Comments and additional information are invited. Please e-mail me,        Ron Potter, at

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