MELVILLE council has shelved plans to name a Bicton park following public outcry over the lack of Indigenous names to choose from.
In June, the council conducted a community survey to determine a new name for the park on Murray Road, giving residents a list of 11 alternatives. It included the names of a long-serving Bicton state-school headmaster and “the last blacksmith in Bicton”.
But many respondents baulked at such a white-heavy list.
One email, recorded in the council’s July 21 minutes, described the exclusion of Indigenous names as “wasteful and unwise”. A second questioned: “Where’s all the Indigenous representation on that list? I mean, considering they’re the traditional owners you’d think there’d at least be ONE to choose from.” Yet another complainant expressed sadness at the lack of recognition of the “traditional custodians of the land” and told the council that “there are plenty of people in the neighbourhood that would think the same”.
To add insult to injury, one of the prospective names, John Hole Duffield, was referred to as an “original land owner.”
The council’s minutes concede this description was “inaccurately and offensively” made. It will abandon the naming and re-run the survey once a more diverse list has been drawn up.
By LOTTIE ELTON