Resist. Revive. Decolonise. Traffic Reports

The new (2017) view from my window

The new view from my window (Gone within days)


There is a new street sign outside my window.  It says, ‘DECOLONISE’.

Thanks to this sign, I have started listening to the traffic report through a template developed by the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy – ‘Resist.  Revive.  Decolonise.’

To begin with, I am grouping place names in Brisbane into 3 different categories – resist, revive, and decolonise.  This is my starting point for exploring this template.  I hope that the overlapping nature of the categories as initially defined below highlight and affirm the integrated nature of this three-word template.  I recognize that this template was not developed for this purpose.  However, I think that this application might be a useful way to explore its richness and implication, while keeping it front and centre as I go about daily life, attentive the signs and language around me.

Category 1 – Resist

Category 1 highlights personal focal points in resistance.  It includes individuals or families.  It might also include names directly attributable to an individual, such as the name of a family home or estate.

The city of Brisbane is shaped by social, political and economic contests.  The notion of ‘resistance’ urges us to perceive the characters who have shaped Brisbane in the context of these contests.  Who and what did they resist?  Who resisted this character?  What was their role or posture in relation to resistance to the colonization of Aboriginal Land and the dispossession of the First Nations?

Category 2 – Revive

Category 2 highlights culture.  It includes names generally referred to as ‘Aboriginal words’ as well as place names whose meaning has been forgotten and neglected over time.  I also include references to natural water courses (e.g. Creek St) in this category.

As mentioned in other articles in this blog (e.g. Speech tools and the letter ‘S’), I do not like the phrase ‘Aboriginal words’. This phrase suggests that these words on signposts are merely objects in a Colony’s dusty collection.  One simple aspect of revival is to recognize the multitude of languages spoken in Australia over millennia.  These languages have names, and it is time that we acknowledge their names in our own 21st century English.  In the absence of those names, there is merit in acknowledging the loss of this knowledge.

In ‘revive’, I am not advocating that we rush to ‘knowing’ what words ‘mean’.  I am affirming the revival of languages within (their own and interacting) cultures in the 21st century.  Revive asserts the essential role of the custodians of culture in shaping cultural exchange and interaction.  Place names which are referred to as ‘Aboriginal words’, beg questions about multi-lingual capability, both in relation to the naming of the place, and in 21st century Brisbane.   In the 21st century, it is clear that access to living language requires both sensitivity and access to culture.  A street map becoming a dictionary might have nothing to do with revival.

Category 3 – Decolonise

Category 3 highlights collective colonial action and shared colonial consciousness.  It includes social, sentimental, artistic, technological, industrial, infrastructure, military, momentous and political references. It includes frequent references to foreign places.   Words like North, South, East, West, Old and New feature in this category, as they demonstrate orientations to specifically colonial reference points.

#resistrevivedecolonise @gettrafficQLD

Here are 3 traffic reports which illustrate the template at work.

Toowong, slow traffic inbound, Western Freeway at Frederick St


Revive.  Decolonise.  Resist.

Revive/Toowong – language, culture

Decolonise/West  – colonial reference point that defines ‘west’.

Resist/Frederick – absent royal family.

MacKenzie, slow traffic inbound, Mt Gravatt-Capalaba Rd at Gateway Motorway


Resist. Resist. Revive. Decolonise.

Resist/MacKenzie –  local businessman and global trader

Resist/Gravatt – face-to-face military administrator

Revive/Capalaba –  language, culture

Decolonise/Gateway – Bjelke-Petersen era business enterprise/infrastructure project

East Brisbane, slow traffic inbound, Wynnum Rd at Lytton Rd


Decolonise. Resist. Revive. Resist

Decolonise/East – colonial reference point that defines East

Resist/Brisbane – absent military administrator

Revive/Wynnum – language, culture

Resist/Lytton – absent representative of Queen Victoria

Traffic reports unleash a series of clusters of place names, usually in groups of 3.  Here are the place names from one morning’s traffic report (@gettrafficQLD)

Boondal Gateway Bruce

Beenleigh M1 Holder

Carseldine Gympie Beams

Mango Anzac Bruce

Deagon Gateway Deagon

Berinba Beaudesert Logan

Bardon Jubilee Frederick

Tarragindi Gaza Pacific

Jindalee 17 Mile Centenary

Everton South Pine Old Northern

Darra Ipswich Centenary

Drewvale Lindsay Beaudesert

Willowbank Cunningham Rosewood

Mitchelton Samford Osbourne

Toowong Western Frederick

Chandler Cleveland Moreton

Mackenzie Gravatt Capalaba Gateway

East Brisbane Wynnum Lytton

Kelvin Grove ICB Kelvin Grove

Red Waterworks Windsor

Stafford Shand Appleby

Boondal Sandgate Bicentennial

Auchenflower Land Coronation

Kenmore Kenmore Moggill

When I consider the above traffic report through the lens of resist, revive, decolonise, it looks like this:

Revive decolonise.  Resist!

Decolonise! Decolonise resist.

Resist! Revive resist.

Decolonise! Decolonise resist.


Resist! Decolonise resist.

Revive! Decolonise resist.

Decolonise!  Decolonise resist.

Resist, resist, decolonise.


Decolonise, decolonise decolonise

Decolonise decolonise decolonise

Revive, decolonise, decolonise

Resist, resist decolonise


Decolonise, resist, decolonise

Resist, revive, decolonise

Revive, decolonise, resist

Resist. Resist. Resist.


Resist, resist, revive, de-colonise

Decolonise resist, revive, resist

Decolonise decolonise decolonise

Decolonise decolonise decolonise


Decolonise resist, resist

Revive, decolonise decolonise

Resist resist decolonise

Decolonise, decolonise, revive.

Even though there are only 3 words in this poetic structure, every word has a different meaning based on how it was conceived in the traffic report.  Here’s looking forward to a fresh view of the streets and their use…