A New South Wales council has voted in favour of beginning a consultation process around changing the name of Coon Island.

Coon Island is a popular tourist destination in the Hunter region south of Newcastle.

It is understood that the island was named after the first recorded permanent resident Herbert Heaney who was nicknamed coon because he would be covered in black coal dust after working in the mines.

Dr. Stephen Hagan, who ran campaigns to change the name of Coon cheese, spoke to the ABC before last nights vote and says there should be no hesitation changing the name.