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Merri-bek supported for new Council name

29 Jun 2022

A large majority of participants in a community consultation have chosen ‘Merri-bek’ as their preferred option for the new name of Moreland City Council. 

Councillors will consider the recommendation at a Special Council Meeting at Glenroy Community Hub on Sunday 3 July. 

Moreland Mayor Mark Riley said he was delighted to see the community consider and support the three name options carefully presented by Wurundjeri Elders. 

“Merri-bek, meaning rocky country, is the clear frontrunner from our community, with 59 per cent of respondents choosing it as their favourite,” Cr Riley said. 

“Many residents shared that they felt most connected to Merri-bek as it linked to the iconic Merri Creek and the rocky country where we live.” 

22 per cent of respondents favoured Jerrang, meaning ‘leaf of tree’, while 13 per cent preferred Wa-dam-buk, meaning ‘renew’. 

Cr Riley thanked the community for engaging in the process in record numbers. 

“6,315 people members of the community had their say by submitting a survey, plus we heard from children and Council staff. We believe this is the most engagement we’ve ever had on a Council project. 

“It was wonderful to read messages of support for all three beautiful name options put forward by Wurundjeri Elders, as locals told us how they resonated with their homes, country and community. 

“Changing our corporate name is an important step in our reconciliation and healing journey with the Traditional Owners of this land.” 

Uncle Andrew Gardiner, deputy chair of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, said this is a great result for the community. 

“It acknowledges that the community wants to change the name away from what it is now associated with and move onto to something that brings people together. Our Elders and Elders from other ethnic groups who have made Australia home, can have respectful and informative meetings and talk about this as the catalyst to sharing common stories to bring better understanding across the community. 

 “The impressive numbers choosing ‘Merri-bek’ is significant and shows the spread of post codes, that it wasn’t just a cluster who responded. 

“We thank the people for their responses and we are proud to walk with them with their new Council name that reflects the vision of ‘one community, proudly diverse’, and a Council that backs up its Statement of Reconciliation with action and respect.”

If endorsed by Council on Sunday, the preferred name will be submitted to the Minister for Local Government for consideration, with final approval by Governor in Council. 

“All are welcome to join us for celebrations on Sunday, which will include NAIDOC Week activities such as crafts, a tree planting, and a performance by Djirri Djirri dancers,” Cr Riley said. 

 It is expected that Council will begin changing its corporate name on digital materials and major signage later this year. For more information on the project, visit the Conversations Merri-bek page.

Feedback from respondents

“The name is beautiful. It has ‘poetry’ to it, and links us to the Merri Creek that runs through our land. The creek is also rocky and holds a deep history.”  

“Our suburb is a rocky and hilly place. Merri-bek is happy sounding and places a smile on one's face when pronouncing it.” 

“As an Aboriginal person I think Merri-bek speaks directly to country: It is rocky country and Merri Creek is part of this country too. In this way Merri-bek shows respect to the land which owns us and holds us.” 

“This country is rocky volcanic grasslands. Rocks represent stability and place.” 

“The meaning of the name reflects the environment of our council area, with our many parks and look out areas, it really is a rocky country.”