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Renaming Moreland

Council supports Moreland name change

As a Council, we recognise the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the lands and waterways in the area now known as Moreland.

Elders from the Traditional Owner community and other community representatives have asked us to consider renaming Moreland City Council.

We held a Special Council Meeting at 7pm on Monday 13 December to consider an officer report outlining recommendations for progressing the renaming request. The report is available to read on our Council meeting minutes and past agendas page.

You can also watch a recording of the meeting on our Moreland City Council Facebook page.

In summary, Council:

  • Supported in principle changing the name of the municipality.
  • Will partner with stakeholders, including the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, to co-design a process to select a new name during 2022.
  • Will plan and start a community information and education program in 2022 that acknowledges the impacts and consequences of dispossession and racism and encourages respectful understanding through truth-telling and reconciliation.
  • Will receive a report in February 2022 detailing the proposed community information and education campaign and recommendations from the name selection process co-design activity, including plans for community engagement.
  • Will receive a further report, following community and stakeholder engagement, and select a preferred suitable name for the municipality to present to the Minister for Local Government for consideration in 2022.
  • Referred to the budget process an additional $250,000 per year for 2 financial years ($500,000 in total) to update Council’s digital platforms, signs at significant Council buildings and facilities, and municipal entry signs. Updating other Council assets such as street and park signs and smaller facilities signage will be staged over a 10-year timeframe within existing budget allocations and asset renewal programs.

You can read the full resolution from the Council Meeting in the minutes of the meeting which are on our Council meeting minutes and past agendas page.

You can also find information from when the Special Council Meeting to consider the renaming request was announced, in our Special Council Meeting to consider the renaming request news article.

Background

In 1839, Farquhar McCrae bought land from Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, without permission from the traditional owners, and called it ‘Moreland’. Moreland was the name of a Jamaican slave estate that his father and grandfather had operated. This information has been recently presented to Council by Elders from the Traditional Owner community and other community representatives.

In 1994 when the Brunswick and Coburg councils, and part of Broadmeadows, were amalgamated, the State Government named the new local government area Moreland.

Statement of Commitment

On 18 October 2021, Moreland City Council renewed our Statement of Commitment to Australia’s First Peoples, which you can read in our Statement of Commitment to Australia’s First Peoples (PDF). This statement is about strengthening and formalising our commitment to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the City of Moreland.

It sets out Council’s vision for reconciliation which you can also see on our Reconciliation page. It outlines what Council recognises, supports, and commits to. It means we will seek guidance from and consult with the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people, build partnerships with communities and individuals and seek to include Woi-wurrung names in the process of naming and renaming spaces, places, roads, and parks in the City of Moreland.

Council first signed a Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians in May 1998 which you can read about in our Reconciliation Action Plan 2014 (DOC). Since then, Council has continued to look at ways to work together with First Nations communities in Moreland.

Related topics

You can find out more about January 26th being acknowledged as a day of mourning by Moreland City Council, and our Survival Day – Healing Ceremony 2021 on our Reconciliation page.

Frequently asked questions

  • The Moreland local government area was created as a council and has existed since 1994.

    The new Council area was created from the former local government areas of the City of Brunswick, the City of Coburg , and the southern part of the City of Broadmeadows, during the amalgamations of local government areas.

    The name was chosen by State Government and gazetted on 22 June 1994.

  • The name ‘Moreland’ was chosen by State Government in 1994 when they amalgamated the former local government areas of the City of Brunswick, the City of Coburg , and the southern part of the City of Broadmeadows.

    Moreland was named after land, between Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, that Farquhar McCrae acquired in 1839. He named the land ‘Moreland’ after a Jamaican slave estate his father and grandfather had operated.

    The land sold to Farquhar McCrae in 1839 was sold without the permission of the Traditional Owners, who were suddenly dispossessed from their land.

    The Moreland estate plantation in southern Jamaica, active from at least 1783-1887 traded in sugar, rum, and slave trading. There were 500-700 slaves there in any one year.

    It is believed that ‘Moreland’ was selected because that area was a central point between the old council areas of Brunswick and Coburg and a local name.

  • The Traditional Owners of the land, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Elders, and other community leaders, have asked Council to consider the renaming of Moreland - an important local issue.

    We now know that 27 years ago, Moreland was named after a slave estate. We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn this.

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

    Councillors, the CEO, and Director of Community Development have been advised that the name is racist and offensive to many, including to the Traditional Owners, the Wurrunjeri Woi-wurrung Elders.

    Morland City Council has long been known as ‘one community proudly diverse’. Having a name that is racist and offensive conflicts with Council’s commitment to promoting diversity,  reconciliation and inclusion.

    As a local community, we can work together to take positive local action and lead the change for the future.

  • The name Moreland City Council will always be a part of our history and we will always be proud of all Moreland City Council has achieved in the last 27 years.

    When a new name is chosen in 2022, and if it’s approved by the Minister for Local Government and Governor in Council, we will start referring to our municipality with the new name. Until that time, we will still be called Moreland City Council.

  • We are planning to rename the local government area of Moreland only – that means the municipality, which includes the land bordered by the Moonee Ponds Creek to the west, Merri Creek to the east, Park Street to the south, and the Western Ring Road to the north.

    Council has supported in principle changing the name of the municipality, that is, changing Moreland City Council’s corporate name.

  • Changing Moreland’s name is about changing the name of the Moreland municipality and Council’s corporate name only.

    We’re not considering changing suburb names, road names or the train station name. They’re not ours to change, but others may choose to.

  • The costs to rename Moreland would be approached in a prudent and phased way that minimises any impact on the delivery of services to the community and draws on existing budget allocations.

    An additional estimated $250,000 per year for two financial years ($500,000 total) is needed to update Council’s digital platforms, signs at significant Council buildings and facilities, and municipal entry signs.

    The rebranding of Council assets such as street and park signs, smaller facilities signage, staff uniforms, vehicle, and rubbish bins will be addressed incrementally within existing budget allocations and asset renewal programs over a 10-year timeframe.

  • Rates will not be raised to enable us to change the name.

    Any costs involved in changing Moreland City Council's name will be managed in a prudent and responsible way over a long period of time, within existing budgets wherever possible.

  • Council will design a community engagement process, partnering with stakeholders including the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, to select a new name during 2022.

    The process will include arrangements such as community nominations and a consultative survey.

    Council will receive a report, including survey results and other information, and will select a preferred suitable name for the municipality.

    The preferred name would be presented to the Minister for Local Government for consideration in 2022. The final decision will be made by State Government.

  • Council will receive a report in February 2022 which will detail the proposed community information and education campaign and plans for community engagement.

    We expect community engagement to take place in early to mid-2022 to enable us to present a preferred suitable name to the Minister for Local Government for consideration in 2022.

  • The possible name options are likely to include local Indigenous place names and language.

    We also want to hear from lots of people in our city and share their ideas.

  • Ultimately, it is the State Government that can change the name of a local government area.

    We’re asking the State Government to consider a name change once we have consulted with the community.

  • This important issue aligns with our commitment to reconciliation and human rights.

    In October 2021, Council signed a Statement of Commitment to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities of the City of Moreland. This Commitment sets out our vision for reconciliation. It also outlines our support and commitment to a process towards local, regional, or national Treaty or Treaties that protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

    Council first signed a Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians in May 1998 and we have continued to look at ways to work together with First Nations communities in Moreland. We will include our commitments in the 2021-2024 Moreland Human Rights Implementation Plan.

  • It is up to each council to consider their name, we are concerned with only our local government area and we want a name that is inclusive and one we can be proud of.

    Many other Council names originated from indigenous languages. Some examples include:

    • Darebin - is the Aboriginal word for swallows (birds)
    • Boroondara - derived from the Woi-wurrung language meaning "where the ground is thickly shaded”