A Melbourne council is making moves to change its name after discovering its namesake was a Jamaican 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.
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.
The Moreland City Council is hoping to change its name after learning it is linked to a Jamaican slavery plantation that operated in the 1700s
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.
To change the name of a council, the state’s local government minister must make a recommendation to the Victorian Governor to make an Order in Council to alter the name.
Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane said the matter needed to be worked on by Moreland City Council, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung corporation and the local community.
‘Strong collaboration with Traditional Owner Groups is vital as we progress our nation-leading path to treaty, truth and justice,’ he said.
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 (pictured Brunswick which is in the Moreland council area)