History of the Nomenclature Board of Tasmania

Prior to the introduction of the Place Names Act 2020 on July 1st 2020, the assignment of names to places in Tasmania - including the constitution and operation of the Nomenclature Board - was regulated under provisions of the Survey Co-ordination Act 1944.

Histo​ry of the Nomenclature Board

The need for detailed, accurate maps of Tasmania was highlighted during World War II. In 1950, an advisory board was set up to assist the Surveyor-General on matters of nomenclature arising from the State's developing mapping programs.

In 1953, an amendment to the Act formally recognised the advisory board and established the Nomenclature Board on a permanent basis. The Board held its first meeting in February 1954.

Processes established under the Act enabled the coordinated and orderly allocation and management of place names, ensuring that this primary identifier of geographical features was clear and concise for use by the whole community.​

The Board held its last meeting in June 2020, with the Place Names Act 2020 taking effect from July 1st 2020.


The Board consisted of up to eight members, including the Surveyor-General as Chairman. Four members were senior officers appointed from the Tasmanian Government agencies responsible for mapping, planning, forestry and mines. Three other persons were appointed for a three year term on the nomination of the relevant Minister. The Board was served by a Secretary appointed from within Land Tasmania a Division of the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment.

Board functions

The Board was responsible for considering matters concerning geographical nomenclature in Tasmania, including the origin, priority and usage of geographical names, while adopting rules of toponymy, orthography and nomenclature.

The Board was authorised to assign names to places in Tasmania, determining the spelling to be adopted for those names and determining names to be included or omitted from official maps and record. The Board, through the Nomenclature Office, compiled and maintained a register of place names, Placenames Tasmania.

The Board was not responsible for naming urban streets situated within proclaimed cities or towns - this was the responsibility of the relevant local government authority (council). Councils were bound by the same rules as the Board when making decisions regarding the assignment of names to streets within proclaimed towns.

After examination and approval of a proposal for the assignment or alteration of a place name, formal notice of the Board's intention was published in the Tasmanian Government Gazette and made available on the DPIPWE Government website.


Registrar of Place Names

GPO Box 44,
HOBART, TAS, 7000.