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Commonwealth Government Records about the Northern Territory

Naming of the Northern Territory

The Territory's name derives from its geographical location, but occasionally alternative names have been suggested, the most favoured being Kingsland. In 1904 explorer Herbert Vere Barclay was quoted as saying that Queensland was the best of all the States and the Northern Territory was better than Queensland, and this was why 'some time ago I recommended that we should go one better, and call it Kingsland'.1

In March 1935, H F Morriss from Surrey in the United Kingdom suggested that the Territory should be renamed Kingsland to honour the silver jubilee of King George V.2 In August 1948, H Bryant from Randwick wrote to Prime Minister Ben Chifley with the same suggestion, arguing that the new name would be more attractive to the large number of immigrants then arriving in the country.3 When asked for his opinion Joseph Carrodus, Secretary of the Department of the Interior, the Department responsible for the Northern Territory, said that the name change was unwarranted. Apart from the cost of changing Acts, Ordinances, documents, and letter paper, a change of name was not warranted until development within the Territory justified its becoming a State. Yet ironically the defeated statehood referendum held in October 1998 would not have resulted in a name change. It was clearly understood at the time that had the referendum been successful the Northern Territory would have retained its name.


Chapter notes | All notes

1 North Queensland Register, 12 January 1911.

2 NAA: A461, A412/1/2 part 1, Northern Territory miscellaneous, 2 March 1935


Chapter 1
The Northern Territory of South Australia, 1863-1911