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South Beach and Port Coogee Name Change Campaign. What’s the latest?

As many of you will know, this campaign has been underway for several years now, a lot has been happening behind the scenes, and here’s a bit of an update as to the current state of play.

First Let’s Recap on How Things Got Started

The South Beach Community Group (SBCG) and Port Coogee Community Association (PCCA) started working together on a proposal to rename the suburb of ‘North Coogee’ with the intent to divide it into two new suburbs called ‘South Beach’ to the north and ‘Port Coogee’ to the south.

A Little Bit of History as to Why.

Residents and businesses in both areas identify very strongly with the geographical areas within which they live and work, for many reasons.

Historic South Beach

Which geographically defines the entire western border of the area and is a heritage listed site named ‘South Beach’ (Category 1 = Exceptional Significance). This and other heritage sites honour the extensive industrial, military and horse training history of the area. The C.Y. O’Connor Statue and Seven Riders Memorial further commemorate horse training which continues on South Beach Horse Exercise Area to this day. The historic link with the name ‘South Beach’ continues strongly today – this is what our area has been called for some 200 years and that link remains strong today.

Port Coogee

Is an area that strongly identifies with the Port Coogee Marina and the Coogee Maritime Trail. The Port Coogee Marina is geographically significant and is a public port of call for the Water Police, Sea Rescue and Fisheries Department. ‘Port Coogee’ is named on national maritime charts in use today. Sitting adjacent to the historic Owen and Beagle Anchorages, historical documents refer to the area as a ‘port’ and there are many protected shipwreck sites lying off the shores. Many local businesses find it easier to define their location as ‘Port Coogee’ to avoid confusion with the North Coogee South Beach area.

Community Feedback

Feedback has consistently demonstrated problems with way-finding and a lack of geographical or historical identity within the existing locality name of ’North Coogee’. The names ‘South Beach’ and ‘Port Coogee' have been in common usage for many, many years to describe the location of the two very distinct coastal communities. In addition, the two communities are physically divided by the C.Y. O’Connor Reserve, the Cockburn Coast Oval and the Power Station Precinct, and will continue to remain so into the future.

The Formal Application Process

Suburb name-changing requires a lot of legwork. First of all, both the SBCG and PCCA needed to become very familiar with the requirements of the Policies and Standards for Geographical Naming in Western Australia, which includes consultation with our communities, local businesses, local governments, authorities such as emergency service providers and postal services, Aboriginal representatives, and local historians. When submitting a formal application to Landgate, Western Australia's land information authority, there are mandatory steps and procedures that must be adhered to, which includes gathering supporting information and documentation as to why the name-changing is requested.

To this end:

A petition was initiated by both the SBCG and PCCA and signatures collected from within the communities. A significant majority of our communities supported the campaign and signed the petition.

SBCG and PCCA worked closely with the City of Cockburn Council and presented the petition to them along with a written submission outlining the case. The City then checked all signatures and contacted those people missing from our submission.

Council members of The City of Cockburn then voted on the submission at an Ordinary Council Meeting and it was approved unanimously.

The City of Cockburn then presented the case to the Geographical Names Committee (GNC). The GNC, based at Landgate, are an advisory committee who review provided information and make recommendations to Landgate.

The Current Situation

Right now the formal assessment received from Landgate is that this suburb name change request has been declined.

Recently representatives of SBCG, PCCA, Landgate, GNC and the City of Cockburn met to discuss the reasons as to why this community-driven submission has not being approved, and to try to address these reasons to enable a way forward.

The reasons Landgate provided for not approving this submission are not believed to be valid, correct, or even in compliance with their own policies and procedures.
The SBCG and PCCA plan to continue to press for these desired name changes.

If after all avenues for achieving this goal have been explored are not successful, then further community consultation may be required in order to determine whether there is support for an alternative name with which to proceed.

Here are copies of the GNC reports and responses that were presented to Landgate.

In the Meantime We Believe the Case for Renaming the Two Suburbs Remains the Same.

South Beach

  • ‘South Beach’ more accurately describes where our residents live, work, play and meet.

  • Our community survey found that the name ‘North Coogee’ creates confusion for residents, businesses, and visitors to our area.

  • The name ‘South Beach’ is already in common use within our community and beyond.

  • The unique coastal lifestyle of ‘South Beach’ is key to the identity and lifestyle of our community

  • Historically, our area has been known as ‘South Beach’ since the early 1800’s, with the name ‘North Coogee’ having only been recently applied in 2005.

  • The beach immediately adjacent to our community is a Category 1 listed (= Exceptional Significance) heritage site officially named ’South Beach’, representing the highest grade of heritage listing for City of Cockburn historical sites.

  • Historical South Beach is also known as 'South Beach Horse Exercise Area', honouring the first horse race in WA (1833), the extensive history of horse training, C.Y. O’Connor’s death and its continued use by the horse-riding community to this day.

  • The beautiful coastline of South Beach is the most dominant geographical feature in our area, defining the entire eastern border of our area.

  • The Coogee Lake, from which the name 'North Coogee' is derived, lies over 4.5km away from the nearest point in our area (McTaggart Cove).

  • The portion of South Beach adjacent to our community is longer and holds a higher significance of heritage listing than the portion within South Fremantle (Level 2 as per City of Fremantle).

  • The South Beach Battery (Remains) is another heritage listed site that directly overlooks the South Beach and Shoreline Estates.

  • C.Y. O’Connor Beach was originally known as South Beach and is described as such in the C.Y. O’Connor Statue heritage listing.

  • Similarity between the names 'North Coogee' and 'Port Coogee' exacerbates confusion about the actual location of the South Beach and Shoreline Estates.

  • The Perth metropolitan area already has suburbs named 'North Beach' and ‘City Beach', therefore 'South Beach' would be appropriate given our location relative to the city centre.

  • There are no other suburbs in Australia named 'South Beach'.

Port Coogee

  • The name 'Port Coogee' is already in common use and reflects important maritime history.

  • The 'Port Coogee' community is well established with a clearly defined boundary strongly separated from the Shoreline and South Beach Estates.

  • The public marina is geographically significant to all Western Australians. The Marina’s proposed expansion will likely solidify this identity further into the future.

  • The Port Coogee community have a strong sense of identity linked to their location represented by the marina and maritime history.

  • The Port Coogee area sits adjacent to the shores of Owen Anchorage, Beagle Anchorage and Cockburn Sound. This area was historically viewed as a 'port related site' and used since European settlement as an 'anchorage and landing place'.

  • Historical documents registering many of the shipwrecks in the area list the anchorage as the 'port' they were originally entering or leaving. Three shipwrecks lie off the shores of Port Coogee and are protected under shipwreck legislation.

  • The only refuelling jetty between Fremantle and Rockingham is located in the Port Coogee Marina making it a significant port of call and important that it be noted on mapping. It is a public port of call used by maritime services including the Water Police, Sea Rescue and Fisheries Department.

  • National Maritime charts in use today identify the area as 'Port Coogee'.

  • Residents find the North Coogee name confusing when dealing with tradesmen, emergency workers and visitors. It necessitates advising them the full address plus the rider 'at Port Coogee'. Google maps, widely used for navigation, identifies the area as Port Coogee.

  • Businesses have found the North Coogee name problematic and already use Port Coogee in their name or publicity material to clarify their location.

  • The award-winning Omeo Wreck and Maritime Dive Trail further strengthens the maritime identity. This is widely known to be 'at Port Coogee'.

  • The Power Station precinct is closely connected to Port Coogee community by its proximity and its beach which is well used by Port Coogee residents.

  • The Cockburn Coast Master Plan identifies future development of the Power Station precinct commencing from the South contiguous with Port Coogee. This development will remain separated from the northern residential area CY O’Connor reserve and the Cockburn Coast Oval. It is better aligned with Port Coogee creating an area and future population of sufficient size to be a considered a suburb in its own right under the GNC policy guidelines.

  • There is no other suburb in Australia named Port Coogee. It is unique.

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