Moreland Council votes to change name to Merri-bek, an Aboriginal word meaning 'rocky country'

Moreland council in Melbourne's inner north has voted to change its name to Merri-bek following a community survey to find a replacement for the current slavery-linked name.

Key points:

  • Wurundjeri elders speaking at the council meeting welcomed the name change
  • Three councillors voted against the change due to the costs and what they say was inadequate community consultation
  • The change will go to Victoria's local government minister and governor for final approval

In consultation with Wurundjeri elders, the council put three Woi-wurrung names in a survey to residents.

An overwhelming majority of the 6,315 votes went to Merri-bek, meaning “rocky country”.

Deputy mayor Lambros Tapinos said it was a historic day for the council and local area.

“It's a reintroduction of a name that existed here for thousands and thousands of years.

“It is a name that is more accurately describing the land which this municipality sits on and its native language.”

Moreland Council votes to change name to Merri-bek, an Aboriginal word meaning 'rocky country'

The council has been working with the Wurundjeri community on the name change.(Supplied)

Wurundjeri elder Bill Nicholson welcomed the name change.

“To me, it's a great starting point to move forward,” he said.

“So congratulations to the council and thanks for the opportunity to share our culture and our language.”

Wurundjeri elder Tony Garvey said it was a “big step forward” for Aboriginal people.

“I think this is the start of something big,” he said.

“Just remember if you're on Aboriginal sites that it's important that we try stick to the traditional ways and the traditional names.”

The state government named the council Moreland in 1994 when Brunswick, Coburg and part of Broadmeadows council areas merged.

The area was initially named Moreland in 1839 by land speculator Farquhar McCrae, who named it after a Jamaican slave plantation run by his father and grandfather.

Some councillors slam consultation process

Councillors Oscar Yildiz, Helen Davidson and Helen Pavlides-Mihalakos voted against the motion, while the other seven councillors in attendance voted for the motion.

Mr Yildiz said there was not enough community consultation about the change.

Moreland Council votes to change name to Merri-bek, an Aboriginal word meaning 'rocky country'

Of the 6,315 council residents who responded to the survey, 3,739 voted for Merri-bek.(Supplied: Moreland City Council)

He said there should have been a fourth option in the survey to leave the name as Moreland. 

A few other councillors acknowledged that some residents opposed the name change.

Councillor Sue Bolton said there should be more community education to help residents understand the dispossession of Aboriginal land and intergenerational trauma.

“I hope the council goes further in trying to help people understand why this is so significant,” she said.

Ms Pavlides-Mihalakos said the money that will be spent on the name change could be better spent elsewhere.

“Who will be paying for this cost? Us, the Moreland ratepayers,” she said.

The council has allocated $500,000 over two years to change signs and materials.

The change will now need to be approved by Local Government Minister Melissa Horne and Victoria's Governor Linda Dessau

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Palay-Palay  National ParkAbout PagudpudFive Levels of Aguinid FallsIntroducing San Pascual, MasbateMount Manmanoc ItineraryAdventures in Fortune Island of Nasugbu | LakwatseroNext Level Mobile Photography with Sony Xperia XZ1 | LakwatseroScuba Diving in Siargao: Discovering the Underwater Treasures of Daku Island | LakwatseroAbout Davao CityHow to Get to AndaJanuary: Cebu & IloiloHow to Get to Mines View ParkKamay ni Hesus: Pilgrimage Site in Lucban | LakwatseroPoon Hill: Three Days of Himalayan AdventureCalvary Hill Cemetery of SagadaHow to Get to TambobongMilford SoundTen Things To Do in Sagada: Bucket List for NewbiesDahoyhoy FallsPilot for a Day: The Ultra Light Aircraft Experience | LakwatseroReal Coffee and Tea Cafe of Boracay | LakwatseroGhorepani Poon Hill TrekAbout Maniwaya IslandHow to Get to Binanga FallsPalo Alto Falls of Baras, Rizal | LakwatseroExplore Moscow: Best Things to Do in the City | LakwatseroStairway to HeavenMount Guiting-Guiting Overnight Trek Complete ItineraryCape Melville LighthouseLa Cathedral Café: Restaurant with a View in IntramurosKapurpurawan Rock Formation: White and BeautifulDay Hike ItineraryThe Sandbox at AlvieraHow to go to Mararison IslandA Weekend of Adventures in South Cebu and DumagueteCalayan Island: A Virtual Diary of Our Epic Journey | LakwatseroFaro de Isla Jintotolo (Jintotolo Island Lighthouse)Low’s PeakAbout Taal VolcanoHow to Get to Mag-aso Falls of BoholSamar: Biri Rock Formations Up Close | LakwatseroBonbon BeachIntroducing Jomalig IslandAbout Cotabato CityAbout TabukLeyte Landing Memorial: A Memorial for a Fulfilled Promise | LakwatseroSilyang Bato, Mount MaramiPanimahawa Ridge and Cedar Falls Day Hike ItineraryFun in the World’s Best IslandSample Albay ItinerariesMagpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools6 Tips for Living in the Philippines | LakwatseroDaraga Church: The Nuestra Señora dela Porteria ChurchTulgao Rice TerracesCape Melville Lighthouse (Faro del Cabo Melville)Canyoneering to Kawasan FallsLake FewaLong Weekend: Five-Day Suggested Itineraries in Luzon | LakwatseroAbout CaponesThe Wichcraft Café of Zamboanga City | LakwatseroHow to Get to GuiuanAll-Female FloorHow to Get to Neri’s VilleDiotay’s EateryShort but Sweet Melaka Getaway | LakwatseroHow to Get to Tinuy-An FallsOslob: The Lost Grandeur of Tumalog Falls | LakwatseroIlocos ItineraryDitumabo Falls: The Mother Falls of San Luis, Aurora!Biking in Kalinga: Trek and Bike to TabukParadise Garden: A Haven for Sea TurtlesSiargao: Magpupungko Beach and Tidal Pools | LakwatseroAbout Bucas GrandeCoral GardenSagadaA Walk in Sangay Siapo Island Before it is Gone? | LakwatseroAmbaguio-Akiki ItineraryCorregidor Island Lighthouse (Faro dela Isla de Corregidor)Faro de Punta de Malabrigo (Malabrigo Point Lighthouse)About CulionNaidi Hill LighthouseBoquete IslandHow to Commute to Temple of LeahCatanduanes: The Heritage Church of Bato | Lakwatsero1. White Water Rafting or KayakingMount Fuji Overnight Climb ItinerarySip & Gogh Paint Studio: Unleash Your Inner Van Gogh | LakwatseroBatanes ItineraryHow to Get to Quitinday HillsAbout Callao CaveDiscover LakawonBiking to Taal: A Fun Ride to Batangas’ Heritage TownAntique Blooming: The Rafflesia of San RemigioMalasimbo Lights and Dance FestivalBacolod ItineraryPoon HillAttractions in Mirador Heritage and Eco ParkHulhumale Public BeachRomblon Island: Bonbon Beach, Tiamban Beach & MoreAdventure in Sabah: White Water Rafting in Padas River | LakwatseroHow to Get to Hinakpan Mystical HillsWelcome to Lake SebuAbout CasiguranAbout BuscalanHow to Go to Kalanggaman IslandFaro de Cabo Bojeador (Cape Bojeador Lighthouse)Backpacking Maldives: Budget Itinerary, Expenses & TipsHow to Get ThereOffbeat Bohol Itinerary: 3D/2N of AdventuresHow to Get to Tawi-TawiAlona BeachPangilatan Falls: The Forgotten Gem of Tapaz, CapizWorld War I: SMS Cormoran II3D/2N Taiwan Itinerary: Taipei – Yehliu – ShiffenLaos for Backpackers: Getting There on a BudgetBasic RequirementsHow to Get to Antong FallsCathedral CaveHow to Go to Gubat, SorsogonAbout SadangaHow to Get to Bugui Point LighthouseHow to Get to Cabra Island LighthouseCebu Itinerary: Three-Day Adventures in the SouthAbout AndaLuna: A Day in the Show Window of Apayao | LakwatseroMargues Blue LagoonFinding Palaui’s Cape Engaño Lighthouse | LakwatseroHow to Get to Mantayupan Falls of Barili, CebuHow to Get to MaligcongLinapacan Islands: Between Paradise | LakwatseroKLIA to KLCCHow to Get to JomaligBanaug ShoalEspadang Bato – Payaran Falls Day Hike Itinerary10 Remarkable Philippine Destinations for Solo TravelMiagao Church: A UNESCO World Heritage Site in IloiloAbout Carbin ReefAbout Parola IslandCabra WreckageCobra Falls: Ozamiz City’s Best Kept SecretBasco: The Chapel on the Hill of Tukon | LakwatseroBack in Kathmandu’s Lovely Mess | LakwatseroHimalayan Adventure: Kathmandu to Pokhara Overland | LakwatseroItineraryChinatown Vancouver (Stop #23)Situbo Falls: Tampilisan's Awesome SurpriseHow to Get to Inambakan FallsTuasan Falls: Another Camiguin’s Charmer | LakwatseroHow to Get to Lake SebuMarinduque Loop: Biking in the Heart of the Philippines1. 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