NEW NAMES: The bounded locality of the Gemfields will be dissolved into three.
NEW NAMES: The bounded locality of the Gemfields will be dissolved into three.

‘An absolute godsend’: Gemfields name change concluding

A PROTRACTED effort to alter the name of the Gemfields bounded locality is in its final leg.

The Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy intends to officially declare the modification in the Government Gazette of February 21, 2020, after the Central Highlands Regional Council determined no further public consultation necessary.

Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson has advocated the revision for 20 years.

"I'm very relieved that it's going ahead," she said.

"It's been a nightmare for the past couple of decades.

"For submitting forms online, for GPS, for tourism - it'll be amazing. It's going to be an absolute godsend."


Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson.
Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson.


The proposal dissolves the Gemfields bounded locality into three new ones, Anakie Siding, Sapphire Central, and Rubyvale, primarily for the sake of better navigation by emergency and postal services. It also annexes the Fairbairn Dam area to the Emerald bounded locality. The town names Anakie, Sapphire, and Rubyvale will remain.

The council was required to advise the department before January 22 if it wished to defer the decision.

"Council resolved that it will not undertake further community consultation or delay the progression of the Gemfields Bounded Locality Project," Central Highlands Regional Council communities general manager John McDougall said.

"The Gemfields Bounded Locality Project is a community-driven initiative that was brought to council via a petition. On behalf of the community, council conducted extensive consultation with the community and the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy."

The department received 22 submissions of public feedback, eight of which were objections.

Those in support mostly argued that mail and services would be improved, whereas those in objection tended to be about history and identity, with many concerned that the town names would change.

"The majority of concerns remaining are based on the misconception that the town names will change," Mr McDougall said.

"The intent is that these names do not change; rather, new locality names for addressing purposes will be created.

"If the DNRME decides to progress the proposal on 21 February 2020, it will take some time yet. But eventually, these new locality names will enter geolocating systems used by emergency services, Australia Post, and more, and improve the services for residents in these areas."



CHANGE AFOOT: The bounded locality changes.
CHANGE AFOOT: The bounded locality changes.


Multiple submissions complained that maps of the new boundary lines were not sufficiently detailed.

Council meeting notes said the locality boundaries were determined by "consultation between the project team and key community stakeholders; comments and advice from community members and specific rural property owners whose properties were located on boundaries; and technical and legal assistance from DNRM&E".

A DNRME spokesman said that anyone wishing to be given extra detail should email or phone 13 74 68.

Legislation prevents two bounded localities from sharing a name; hence Anakie Siding and Sapphire Central, since Anakie exists in Victoria and Sapphire in New South Wales.

The Gemfields bounded locality initiative was first tabled in a petition by the Rubyvale Progress Association to council on March 27, 2018.

CHRC submitted the proposal to Department in September 2019, and public submissions were accepted from October 11 to December 13, 2019.

Council notes also suggest changing the 4702 postcode some time after the bounded locality amendment would further help solve logistic problems.