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Kua Team, 13 November 2020

Add Indigenous place names into your address

For 3 months or so, we have been adding Indigenous place names to our address labels. Coffee is still going out to people across Australia but there is now a little line below the suburb name which says something like 'Gadigal & Bidjigal Country'.

Kua coffee, shipped with another line in the address format. Gadigal country in the background.
Kua coffee, shipped with another line in the address format. Gadigal country in the background.

It wasn’t a big change for us. When we pack your coffee, we do a little research and type it in. It may not be a big change for you either, another line in the address format is easy to miss. But small tweaks like this do have the potential to make fundamental change when done at scale.

Imagine if every package we ever received recognised the Indigenous country. We’d be connecting with First Nation cultures, languages and places everyday. We begin to understand the fact that our homes in Chippendale stand on Gadigal country, that an office in St Kilda is also Euro-Yroke country and that our grandma in Wollongong lives on Dharawal country. Through this simple act, Indigenous culture starts to become part of the Australian vernacular, part of our day to day.

A piece of art - Lin Onus, Fruit bats, 1991.
Lin Onus, Fruit bats, 1991. Indigenous culture and the ultimate in Australian vernacular - the Hills Hoist.

People of the internet may call another line in the address virtue signalling, marketing spin or tokenistic. They might be right. We don't have the brains or authority to argue with them. But we do believe this is a tiny, but effective step in the right direction (one of the many, many steps that need to be made).

So how do you do the same thing?

  • Do some research. Search something like 'Chippendale, Indigenous country'. Compare your sources. Indigenous led-organisations are the best bet. Local council sites can be useful too.

    It is important to note that Indigenous country may not take a format you are used to. It’s not straight lines on a map. The boundaries are rivers, mountain ranges and valleys. There are areas which are contested, small groups within big groups, big groups within nations. You need to be sensitive to this and do your best in finding the correct one. Compare the information you have found to the AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia. This gives a great overview of Indigenous groups across our country.
  • Note all of this information down somewhere (we use a big spreadsheet and hope that over time, it will become a database we can refer to when sending our parcels).
  • Use the Indigenous place name all the time. When you order with us, use the optional Address Line 2 box and we will enter that into Sendle. If you use Aus Post, read their tutorial here. If there is no place, just use the ‘Company Name’ field.

Early on we connected with Rach from place_names_in_addresses who has been championing the campaign to get Indigenous place names included on all address forms. Follow her on Instagram, she’s awesome.