Have your say on a new name for Somerville's historic Aboriginal site

Published on 12 August 2020

Blacks Camp Bushland Reserve.jpg

Mornington Peninsula Shire invites the community to share their feedback and help Council decide on a new name for Blacks Camp Reserve in Somerville.
With support from the Bunurong Land Council, the Shire has developed a shortlist of new names for Blacks Camp Road, the community bushland reserve and local pre-school which share the ‘Blacks Camp’ name.
Community feedback has indicated the name ‘Blacks Camp’ is a derogatory term that is inappropriate and offensive to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, creating a barrier for people of this heritage in accessing the education precinct.
In 2004, an archaeological investigation was undertaken at a site on the northern side of Blacks Camp Road on behalf of the Department of Education and Training. The investigation found over 200 artefacts and discovered four Aboriginal sites close to a source of fresh water.

The report concluded that this area was a significant Aboriginal settlement for thousands of years. It is likely that the road, pre-school and reserve were named due to some knowledge of the Aboriginal habitation in this area.

Renaming the road, pre-school and reserve is an opportunity to pay respect to First Nations people by selecting a name that builds recognition of the Shire’s rich cultural history and provides a platform for further community education.

Council has shortlisted names in partnership with the Bunurong Land Council which recognise the important cultural history of the site.

The shortlisted names open for public vote for the Reserve are:

  • Beek Beak pronounced “Biik Biik”, meaning earth (many lands)
  • Burinyong Balug pronounced “Burinyong Balook”, Burinyong meaning Bunurong, Balook meaning mob, people, group or clan.
  • Mayone Balug pronounced “Moi on Balook”, meaning Bunurong Clan - the area at the top of the Mornington Peninsula and the head of Westernport Bay
  • Ngooraak pronounced “Nugrook”, meaning mountain.

Community voting for the renaming of the reserve is welcome until Monday 21 September 2020.

The naming process for the road and pre-school will be conducted with the stakeholders directly affected and is also open for community feedback until Monday 21 September 2020.

Proposed names for the pre-school include:

  • Beenap, meaning Manna Gum
  • Tillerkite, meaning play
  • Turrum, meaning She-oak.

Proposed names for the road include:

  • Decangery Drive, referring to the local area
  • Worwong Avenue, referring to the local area.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Sam Hearn said, “The shortlisted names for this site have been carefully selected to celebrate and recognise the significance of this Aboriginal land”.

“As part of Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan it is our responsibility to address legacies of inappropriate or offensive feature names on the Peninsula and use this as an opportunity to learn together”, said Cr Hearn.

Watson Ward Councillor Julie Morris said, “Council has listened to the community who have championed this change and are in full support of an inclusive process as we understand the significance this can have on the young community who access the pre-school and primary school via this road”.

“Renaming the road and surrounding landmarks is an important initiative and I’m looking forward to working with our Somerville, Watson Ward and Peninsula community to choose names that reflect our rich cultural heritage”, concluded Cr Morris.

For more information about the naming of roads features and localities in Victoria, visit Naming rules for places in Victoria.
How to have your say

Community consultation is currently open and closes 5pm Monday 21 September 2020. Submit your expressions of support or objections below:

Hard copy forms are available upon request by phoning 1300 850 600.
Email your form to: haveyoursay@mornpen.vic.gov.au with the subject line ‘Blacks Camp Road’.
Private Bag 1000, Rosebud, Victoria, 3939.

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