The Queen’s death has sparked calls for Queensland’s name to be changed to ‘Kingsland’, but an Indigenous politician says it’s time for the state to have an Aboriginal name.
Social media has erupted with jokes – and sometimes genuine confusion – about the state being renamed since Queen Elizabeth II died aged 96 in the early hours of Friday morning.
On the Reddit social media site there is a whole discussion under the title ‘Shouldn’t Queensland now have its named changed to Kingsland?’
‘You’re gonna be shocked when you find out it was already Queensland before Queen Elizabeth II was born, better yet we had a King,’ one responded.
Some prominent Australian politicians have been calling for a name change for years already.
Lidia Thorpe, who was reelected to the Senate for the Greens in May, first called for a Queensland and Victoria name change in 2020 when she was a Victorian state MP.
‘Everything’s named as a result of invasion of this country, why wouldn’t we negotiate (name changes),’ Ms Thorpe, who is Aboriginal, said at the time.
‘Anything that’s named after someone who’s caused harm or murdered people, then I think we should take their name down,’ she told The Herald Sun.
HOW WAS QUEENSLAND NAMED?
150 years ago, the people living in Queensland (at that time Queensland part of the New South Wales colony). The main problem was that the seat of the colony, Sydney, was too far away. People petitioned to separate, and in 1859 Queen Victoria granted them their own colony. As the name perfectly suggests, they named it Queensland to honour Queen Victoria.
Queen Elizabeth II (centre) and her husband Prince Philip (left) watch the lighting of a ceremonial fire near Cairns, Queensland in March 2002
Could Queensland be about to be renamed Kingsland?
King Charles is pictured when he was still Prince Charles (right), with Camilla (the then Duchess of Cornwall) on Broadbeach on April 5, 2018 in Gold Coast, Queensland. There are now calls in some quarters to change the name of the state to Kingsland
The debate over whether or not to change the name of Queensland has some echoes with the Uluru/Ayers Rock situation.
It was called Uluru in the Pitjantjatjara language a long time before Europeans arrived in Australia.
In 1873, the explorer William Gosse became the first non-Aboriginal person to see it and named it Ayers Rock after Sir Henry Ayers, South Australia’s then chief secretary.
In 1993, it was officially renamed Ayers Rock/Uluru, and in 2002 this was reversed to Uluru/Ayers Rock.
Though the name change was opposed at the time, there are now very few people who refer to it as Ayers Rock.
Australia Greens Senator for Victoria, Lidia Thorpe (pictured) has called for Queensland’s name to be changed
The Republic of Ireland, which gained independence from the UK on December 6, 1922 – originally as the Irish Free State – has a mixed history of royal name changes.
Though the name King’s County in the midlands of Ireland has long since been changed to Offaly, some legal documents still refer to it by its old name to this day.
The next door county, Laois, is still called Queen’s County when the title deeds to land are updated when sold.
Greens senator Lidia Thorpe thinks Victoria should be renamed over its association with Queen Victoria (pictured) and that Queensland’s name should be changed too
In the capital city, Dublin, its main train station, Heuston, was still called Kingsbridge until 1966.
It was renamed after Sean Heuston, who had been executed 50 years earlier for his part in the 1916 attempt to overthrow British rule.
But Dublin still has a medical university called the Royal College of Surgeons, a law college called King’s Inns and a showground venue called the Royal Dublin Society.
America too, has state names called after British royals. The southern state of Georgia was named after King George II, while Virginia was named to honour Queen Elizabeth I, who was known as the ‘Virgin queen’.
The US seems happy enough to maintain its royal state names, so maybe Queensland will too.