What's in a name? Apparently an awful lot of history if a proposed street name in a new Kiama estate is anything to go by.
The estate’s developers, Kiama councillors, the council’s own naming committee and even the historical society have been at loggerheads over the naming of a new street in the Munna Munnora Estate subdivision.
Earlier this year the developers of the 35-lot estate, which overlooks Easts Beach, proposed to name the road Success Avenue.
But the streets and reserves naming committee didn’t like that and rejected it.
The Kiama and District Historical Society waded into the debate, recommending the street be named Orry-Kelly Place, in honour of Orry George Kelly, who grew up in Kiama and won Academy Awards for film costume design in the 1950s.
Council’s naming committee liked Orry-Kelly Place and gave it a tick of approval.
But the developer wasn’t impressed and requested another name, possibly associated with the Kendall family who had a historical connection to that part of Kiama.
At last month’s naming committee meeting the developer’s representative Patrick Mahedy put forward another option – Surfleet Place, after Thomas Surfleet Kendall, who owned the land in question after the death of his father, Reverend Thomas Kendall, in 1832.
But the naming committee didn’t like Surfleet Place. Thomas Surfleet Kendall’s name wouldn’t do – but perhaps his wife’s name would: Caroline Rutter, one of three orphaned sisters who all married Kiama landholders and a lady who served the Kiama community with distinction.
Caroline Rutter Place, however, did nothing for councillor Dennis Seage. Cr Seage said the developer, a Chinese businessman, had gone to considerable effort and expense researching the name and Surfleet it should be.
In the meantime councillor Kathy Rice recommended a compromise of Caroline Kendall Place, but now it was the turn of Kiama council’s acting general manager Bryan Whittaker to object.
That name was unlikely to be approved, he said. Because the Kendall name was used elsewhere in the municipality and on other parts of the South Coast, it could create confusion for people looking for the street, especially emergency services.
Cr Rice said the reason the naming committee was formed was to bring the history of Kiama together and to stop developers instinctively feeling they could do the research and name streets themselves.
‘‘We should respect the committee and adopt the theme they wished for this area,’’ Cr Rice said.
In the end, however, the developer’s wishes won the day: although the naming committee had previously rejected Surfleet Place, councillors finally approved it with a 7-2 vote.
So is that the end of it? Well, not quite. The proposed name will now be placed on public exhibition – and will need to be approved by the Geographical Names Board of NSW.