Melbourne Council drops name slave link | Stawell Times-News

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A council in Melbourne is taking steps to change its name after discovering that its namesake was a Jamaican slave estate. Traditional owners and other community representatives presented the City of Moreland with information showing that the name came from land between Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, which Farquhar McCrae acquired in 1839. He named the land ‘Moreland’ after a Jamaican slave plantation, his father and grandfather had operated from 1770 to 1796, producing sugar, rum, and the slave trade with 500 to 700 slaves there in any one year. In 1994, the local government areas of the City of Brunswick, the City of Moreland and part of Broadmeadows were merged, and the state government named the new local government area Moreland. Mayor Mark Riley said the council was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the discovery. “The story behind the naming of this area is painful, uncomfortable and very wrong. It needs to be taken care of,” he said. “Moreland stands firm against racism, we are one community, proudly diverse. The council is committed to working with the Wurundjeri people and we take the request very seriously.” A new name would be developed after a consultation process with the Moreland community, but ultimately it is the state government that will make the change. At present, the council does not propose to rename other functions such as schools or roads. In October, the Moreland Council signed a declaration of commitment to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities setting out a vision for reconciliation. It will now address a report on this issue at the next Council meeting on the civic engagement process. To change the name of a council, the local minister of state must make a recommendation to the Victorian governor to make an order to change the name. Local Government Minister Shaun Leane said the matter should be worked on by Moreland City Council, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Society and the local community. “Strong cooperation with traditional ownership groups is crucial as we make progress on our national path to treaty, truth and justice,” he said. Australian Associated Press

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