The Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s inner north will discuss a name change at its council meeting on December 8, after elders from the Traditional Owners community drew the council’s attention to the name’s history last week.
According to the council, the land between Moonee Ponds Creek and Sydney Road was named ‘Moreland’ by Farquhar McCrae after he acquired it in 1839.
It is believed that he named the country ‘Moreland’ after a Jamaican slave estate run by his father and grandfather.
The land was sold to him without the permission of the traditional owners, which led to them being suddenly evicted from their land.
In 1994, the local government areas of the City of Brunswick, the City of Moreland and part of Broadmeadows were merged, and the state government named the new local government area Moreland.
Moreland Mayor Mark Riley said the council was “shocked and deeply saddened” to learn about the roots of the name.
“The story behind the naming of this area is painful, uncomfortable and very wrong. It needs to be taken care of,” he said.
“Moreland stands firm against racism, we are one community, proudly diverse. The council is committed to working with the Wurundjeri people and we take the request very seriously.”
Cr Riley said any new name would be developed after a full consultation process with the Moreland community and that the state would ultimately have to make the change.
“This important issue is in line with our commitment to reconciliation and human rights. In October 2021, the Council signed a declaration of commitment to the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities in the City of Moreland,” he said.
“This commitment sets out our vision for reconciliation,” he said.
The council said it did not propose to consider renaming other functions such as schools or roads.
The discussion at the council meeting will include initiating a community engagement process to determine a new name for Moreland City Council.