A truce in war of the Penroses

Lauren Spersel at the general store and post office at Penrose in the Southern Highlands. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER
Lauren Spersel at the general store and post office at Penrose in the Southern Highlands. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Better Penrose, Nicer Penrose and Greater Penrose are some of the cheeky new names Wollongong councillors have suggested for the Dapto suburb now known as Penrose.

Their comments came after 250 residents in Penrose, Wingecarribee, petitioned the Geographic Names Board for a change because the "close proximity" of another Penrose had created confusion in their tiny village.

At Monday night's meeting, councillors agreed it would be wise to engage the community and rename the 1400-strong suburb - but consensus came with a few sly digs at Highlanders.

Cr Ann Martin jokingly called for residents to consider naming their suburb something that pointed out its superiority.

"Can I suggest that perhaps things like Better Penrose, Best Penrose or Nicer Penrose would be potential new names," she said.

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Janice Kershaw interjected: "Why doesn't the other side change their name?"

To this, Dapto resident Chris Connor pointed out "they were there first", but said Dapto also had a claim to the name because of historical links to nearby Penrose Farm.

Cr Connor also said it was "unfortunate" the names board had allowed two suburbs to have the same name, which led David Brown to suggest the state government body might like to pay to fix its mistake.

"The state agency has stuffed up, let's be clear about that, and we're picking up the cost for consultation," he said.

He suggested councillors ask the board for reimbursement, noting the engagement process, as well as changing websites and suburb signage, could be costly.

Vicki Curran praised Wollongong council for taking the high road in the Penrose debacle.

"I think Wollongong has been very gracious in suggesting that we will look at consulting with our community in regards to finding an alternative name to avoid confusion," she said.

Cr Curran, supported by Michelle Blicavs, said she hoped to find "creative, fun ways" of involving the community, including competitions for schoolchildren.

However, Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery warned councillors not to "go overboard" and splash cash as the council wrestles with its budget.

Councillors unanimously supported the community consultation process, including Cr Brown's amendment seeking cost recovery from the government.


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