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Aussie Council Votes To Ditch 'Racist' Name Next Year

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Aussie Council Votes To Ditch 'Racist' Name Next Year

A local council in Melbourne has agreed to change its 'racist' name and embark on a new future.

According to The Age, Moreland City Council got its name from a 'Jamaican sugar plantation that used slave labour'.

The Moreland plantation was owned by Scotsman Farquhar McCrae, who reportedly had hundreds of slaves working to harvest sugar and rum.

The operation was founded in the 1780s by McCrae's grandfather until Britain made slavery illegal in 1833.

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Farquhar McCrae. Credit: MaHistory
Farquhar McCrae. Credit: MaHistory

Six years after that decree, McCrae moved from Jamaica to Melbourne. He bought a stretch of land and booted out the Indigenous owners before naming it Moreland after his family's estate.

Fast forward to the 2020s and people thought it was time for the council to sever its ties with that history.

A ballot happened during a special meeting this week and the final tally saw six votes for changing the name and three against.

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Deputy chair of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Andrew Gardiner, helped spearhead this campaign.

He told the council meeting: "There are two examples of racism on display here: global slavery and local dispossession. They come together in one word. And that is Moreland."

Independent Oscar Yildiz was against the idea, saying there are more important issues at the moment.

"We are living in challenging times and while some of us are in comfortable taxpayer jobs, there are many families doing it tough," he said.

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"There are problems in our area with infrastructure, our roads and footpaths are in desperate [need of] repair, we have issues with rubbish collection, graffiti is rife ... we've got better things to worry about as a municipality."

Fellow independent Helen Davidson added that the cost of changing the name is expected to be around half a million dollars.

She noted how every single sign, banner, uniform, bin and online platform will have to be taken down and amended.

However, the Mayor said the name had to be changed after he was alerted to its origins.

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Mark Riley said: "The history behind the naming of this area is painful, uncomfortable and very wrong. It needs to be addressed.

"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."

The council will consult with First Nations groups to see whether they can help contribute to finding a new name.

To support the fight against racial injustice visit ladbible.com/unheard

Featured Image Credit: Moreland City Council/Instagram

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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