The small but powerful campaign that’s changing how your mail looks
7 July 2021 at 5:43 pm
Launched to mark NAIDOC Week, Australia Post parcels will now include a dedicated spot for Aboriginal traditional place names
Nearly 18 months ago, Gameroi woman Rachael McPhail started a campaign to make First Nations place names an official part of address information on Australia Post packaging.
On Monday, the national postal service launched a new range of packaging that does just that, with a dedicated spot for customers to include the First Nation country, just above the street address on a letter or a parcel.
The parcels will be phased in as stock becomes available, and will also include an acknowledgement of country.
From little things big things grow
McPhail first came up with the idea for the campaign after driving through Wiradjuri Country and noticing which local councils acknowledged country on their signs.
“The idea grew from there,” McPhail said.
“Using traditional place names in mailing addresses means acknowledging and celebrating the fact that each area in Australia had a former beautiful name prior to colonisation.”
After sharing the idea on social media and receiving encouragement from local Wiradjuri Elders, she took the campaign to Australia Post.
Late last year, the campaign hit a turning point when Australia Post updated its guidelines on how and where people should acknowledge traditional custodians on their parcels and letters, paving the way for the most recent change.
Australia Post’s national Indigenous manager, Noongar man Chris Heelan, told NITV News that the change was a simple gesture with a positive and long-term effect.
“It’s just an opportunity to open up some wider dialogue and maybe encourage all Australians to consider their campaign,” Heelan said.
“We’re encouraging all of our customers to engage locally, speak to your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands councils and your appropriate cultural centres.”
More work to be done
Meanwhile, McPhail’s job is not yet finished. She has turned her attention to seeing a comprehensive national database of traditional place names developed.
But she said that this would take time and would need to be done in consultation with Indigenous Elders and community leaders.