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Australia Melbourne council to ditch slave-link name

08:51  24 november  2021
08:51  24 november  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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A Melbourne council is making moves to change its name after discovering its namesake was a Jamaican slave estate.

Melbourne local council Moreland wants a new name after discovering its namesake was a slave estate. © Luis Ascui/AAP PHOTOS Melbourne local council Moreland wants a new name after discovering its namesake was a slave estate.

Traditional owners and other community representatives presented the City of Moreland with information showing the name came from land between Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, that 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, which produced sugar, rum and slave trading with 500 to 700 enslaved people there in any one year.

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Activists rushed into a Moreland City Council meeting shortly after 8pm on Monday protesting the inner-north Melbourne authority's decision to change the date of Australia Day celebrations. Footage posted of the incident shows demonstrators storming the meeting shouting 'traitor to your nation' before Mayor Helen Davidson is seen taking a swing at one of the protesters. The Moreland City Council voted to drop all references to January 26 as Australia Day in September, over fears it offended Aboriginal people. It became the third Melbourne council to ditch the celebration.

In 1994 the local government areas of the City of Brunswick, the City of Moreland and part of Broadmeadows were amalgamated 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 history behind the naming of this area is painful, uncomfortable and very wrong. It needs to be addressed," he said.

"Moreland stands firmly against racism, we are one community, proudly diverse. Council is committed to working with 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 must make the change.

At this stage the council is not proposing to consider renaming of any other features such as schools or roads.

In October, Moreland council signed a statement of commitment to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities setting out a vision for reconciliation.

It will now consider a report on this issue at the next council meeting on the community engagement process.

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