NAME CHANGE: People living in The Gemfields are invited to make a submission about a proposed name change to the locality.
NAME CHANGE: People living in The Gemfields are invited to make a submission about a proposed name change to the locality.

Gemfields renamed? Locals 20-year fight for name change

AFTER a 20-year fight, Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson is hoping the time has come for a name change for her locality.

The proposal suggests creating three new localities of Anakie Siding, Sapphire Central and Rubyvale and discontinuing the name of The Gemfields.

Ms Tompson, who runs the Emerald Tip Shop and Miners Common Museum, said she was pleased the government was looking at this and hoped it went through.

She said having one bounded locality for the whole area instead of three caused a multitude of problems for the community that a lot of people didn't realise.


Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson.
Rubyvale resident Kim Tompson.


"A lot of mail for The Gemfields goes to Willows Gemfields, which has its own locality," she said.

"So when mail comes through for someone who lives in Rubyvale or Sapphire that has just put The Gemfields, it ends up at The Willows.

"The postmaster can tell the delivery person to try Ruby­vale or Sapphire, but they might not know where the person lives and just put return to sender.

"You could be expecting something that has been sent to The Willows instead of Rubyvale and it has been sent back to the sender, which means another week or two before it gets back to you."

That's not the only issue the community faces daily.

"If you work in administration at the medical centre or multipurpose centre and are doing reports on clients, you can't even put their address because the drop box only shows The Gemfields for the locality," Ms Tompson said.

"Some people live in Ruby­vale, some in Sapphire - The Gemfields is a huge area.

"That is what it's like for most online reporting or submissions.

"I have this problem when applying for government funding for the museum. Those drop-down boxes only register The Gemfields, so it's really hard when you are trying to specify where your event is going to be held and it tells you an event in The Gemfields has received funding but your event is going to be held in Rubyvale. They don't see it as a separate location."

Ms Tompson said she remembered when her dad would receive his insulin needles in the mail and one time they were returned to the sender because the address was listed as The Gemfields.

"There's just a lot of problems that will be eradicated with the locality name changes," she said.

"Even with the emergency services, if there is a fire and you ring 000 it is also listed as The Gemfields - it affects a lot of people in different ways.

"Most people won't even notice the difference, but for the ones who are working for the community it will make their lives so much better."

She said quite a few people were "up in arms" because they thought the names of each of the three towns were changing "but that's not the case at all".

"Anakie, Sapphire and Rubyvale will stay the same, they will just be the bounded localities," she said.

"I am always telling people to go to the public meetings when they don't understand. I just want them to know this will halt the confusion, mainly with Australia Post."

She said if The Gemfields name was not discontinued, she didn't know what else residents could do.

"We have pretty much gone down every avenue possible to get these changes made," she said.

"But we will keep fighting, we have to."

Central Highlands Regional Council started The Gemfields - Bounded Locality Project in 2018 as a response to a petition from the community.

People living in the Gemfields area are invited to make a submission to the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy about the proposed name change.

Submissions are open until December 13 at environ­ment/land/title/place-names/proposals-decisions.

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