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The Australian National Placenames Survey: A History

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National Committee on Australian Place Names - 1970


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History of the ANPS

The attempt to prepare a comprehensive survey of Australia's placenames began in 1970 when the Australian Academy of the Humanities set up a national committee to establish guidelines for research and to coordinate work in this field

Work on the project began in 1972 at the University of New England, Armidale, led by Dr John Atchison and building on earlier research by Professor J.S. Ryan. Funding difficulties, as well as interState and inter-university rivalries, brought the project to a lengthy halt.

There were several attempts to re-commence the project, but it was not until 1997 that the Academy was able to secure short-term research funding from the Australian Research Council to enable the work to go ahead. The project was now located at Macquarie University, Sydney, with David Blair as director and Flavia Hodges as research fellow. When ARC funding finished in 2001, the University set up the Asia-Pacific Institute for Toponymy with 5-year funding from the Vice Chancellor's Millennium Innovations Fund, and the project (now with the name Australian National Placenames Survey) had its home within that Institute until 2006.

Since 2007 the Survey has found its home within a non-profit voluntary association, Placenames Australia (Inc).

A fuller version of this history appears in this chronological account:

The Australian National Placenames Survey: A History



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