Community, councillors and members of the Traditional Owner community have come together today to celebrate Council’s recommendation to change its corporate name to Merri-bek.
Following a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony at Glenroy Community Hub this morning, a Special Council Meeting took place where Council officially endorsed Merri-bek as the preferred name.
Councillor Annalivia Carli Hannan said she was delighted by the support expressed by community and the range of considerations that went into preferencing the three name options presented by Wurundjeri Elders.
“This is a momentous day of celebration, reconciliation and healing for the whole community, who all had an opportunity to participate in this significant process,” Cr Hannan said.
“I want to sincerely thank the Wurundjeri Elders who provided us with three beautiful name options to consider. Merri-bek has clear support from the community, and we hope to start formally implementing the name later this year, once it is approved by the Minister for Local Government.”
“I’m honoured to be standing on Wurundjeri land with our community on this historic day, as we take another step towards reconciliation and healing with Traditional Owners.”
Every resident and business owner was mailed information on the renaming project, with more than 6300 community members having their say by mail or online. Merri-bek, meaning ‘rocky country’ was the favourite, supported by 59 per cent of respondents, followed by Jerrang (22 per cent), meaning ‘leaf of tree’, and Wa-dam-buk (13 per cent), meaning ‘renew’.
The celebrations will continue this afternoon with NAIDOC Week activities including crafts, a tree planting, and a performance by Djirri Djirri dancers.
Uncle Andrew Gardiner, Deputy Chair of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, said this is a great result for the community.
“The impressive numbers choosing ‘Merri-bek’ is significant and shows the spread of postcodes and demographics – 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 Commitment with action and respect.”
The endorsed name recommendation will now be submitted to the Minister for Local Government for consideration, with final approval by Governor in Council.