About the name Moreland

  • The State Government named the area ‘Moreland’ in 1994 after a few local government areas were combined to make the bigger one we know as ‘Moreland’ today.

  • ‘Moreland’ was chosen 28 years ago by the State Government because it was familiar to locals. (Many people recognised the name from ‘Moreland Road’ – a main road travelling though the middle of the municipality.)

  • Back then it wasn't widely known the name ‘Moreland’ was named after a Jamaican slave estate where approximately 500 to 700 people were considered ‘property’ and not allowed basic human rights.

  • This name ‘Moreland’ came from a man called Farquhar McCrae. He acquired the land (between Moonee Ponds Creek and Sydney Road) from a purchase when it was taken from the Traditional Owners without consent in 1839.

  • Farquhar McCrae named the land ‘Moreland’ after the Jamaican slave estate mentioned above, owned and operated by his relatives for many decades.

  • In less than 2 years, most of the current city area was made the private property of just 29 men.

  • Moreland land was then cleared of its native vegetation and farmed, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people displaced and evidence of their cultural landscape lost and destroyed.

  • Many Traditional Owners and other Aboriginal Victorians suffered and died.

  • This contact between Wurundjeri Woi wurrung and Europeans started in 1835. Many colonialist settlers bought land which was sold to them without permission leading to the dispossession and displacement of Traditional Owners.

Changing our name

  • Council resolved to replace its name at a Special Meeting in December 2021 after research confirmed that the current ‘Moreland’ name has deeply racist associations.

  • In 2021, Elders from the Traditional Owner community (and other community members) informed Council that the area we live, work and play on – ‘Moreland’ – was named after a Jamaican slave estate.
  • The current name stands for 2 examples of racism:
    - global slavery and
    - local, widespread human rights abuses against Aboriginal people.
  • The name ‘Moreland’ was chosen 28 years ago by the State Government when it wasn’t widely known this was the case. We have now learned this and need to remove a name that is painful, racist and offensive.
  • We need a new name we can all be proud of.
  • We have a long history of leadership on issues of racism, inclusion and reconciliation at Council. For many years our description has been ‘One Community, Proudly Diverse’.
  • In 2021 we signed a Statement of Commitment to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This Statement of Commitment oversees real actions towards reconciliation.
  • The opportunity to change our name and acknowledge past violence and displacement endured by our local Traditional Owners, the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people is a great step towards reconciliation and collective healing.
  • This is a positive local action our community can take to lead change for the future.  
  • We recognise Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people as the Traditional Owners of the land and waterways now known as ‘Moreland’.
  • We have worked closely with Wurundjeri Elders to design a process to select a new name will connect people from all cultures and diverse backgrounds in our community to Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung history and culture.
  • The Traditional Owners have been connected to this land for tens of thousands of years (and the name ‘Moreland’ has only been the name of the municipality since 1994).
  • Proposing Woi-wurrung name options honours the Traditional Owners connection to, and both historical and ongoing care of the land known as ‘Moreland’. This renaming offers an opportunity to connect people from all cultures and diverse backgrounds in our community the important Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung history of the place we love today.
  • Our existing Naming Policy encourages and preferences the use of traditional Aboriginal/Koori names. (Did you know we already have many loved landmarks that carry Aboriginal names like Bulleke-Bek Park in Brunswick and the Merri Creek?)
  • Many other council names have come from indigenous language. Some examples include Darebin, a Woi-wurrung word for swallows (birds), and Boroondara, a word from the Woi-wurrung language meaning "where the ground is thickly shaded”.
  • Council received name recommendations from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation during a cultural cleansing and smoking ceremony on Saturday 14 May. These were then formally endorsed by Council at a Special Council Meeting that followed.
  • All community members were invited to participate in the naming process by sharing their feedback on their preferred name out of the 3 options.
  • We have changed the name of the City Council. This means our corporate name – Merri-bek City Council – only.
  • We’re not considering changing suburb names, road names or the train station name. It also does not apply to other organisations or businesses within Moreland.
  • However, others may choose to do so if they wish.
  • No. The name Moreland City Council will always be a part of our history, and we will always be proud of all Moreland City Council has achieved in the last 28 years.
  • The name Moreland will be reserved in the state’s geographic names register as a historic name and will remain a part of the region’s history.
  • The Local Government Area (LGA) name 'Moreland' will be still be a part of our history.
  • Other organisations and businesses that have the name Moreland don’t have to change their name.
  • The first things you may notice change is Council’s website and social media pages (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter).
  • Our new website URL – www.merri-bek.vic.gov.au
  • You will see some new signage– including at our Coburg, Brunswick and Glenroy locations.
  • Over the next few months, our email addresses will start to change – but if you do email Moreland this will be re-directed to our new email addresses or our new website.
  • You will start to see our new name of letters, flyers, and other collateral.
  • We are taking a gradual approach, and you may still see the name ‘Moreland’ while we transition.
  • We will begin to replace signage at our key locations such as Coburg, Brunswick and Glenroy, libraries and leisure centres.
  • Signage such as road blades will not be replaced immediately - we will gradually be replaced as required over the next 10 years.
  • You will see the ‘Moreland’ name and logo for years to come.
  • You can keep your current bin, and as your bin is replaced you will notice the new name of ‘Merri-bek’ on your new bin.
  • We worked closely with The Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation to select a new name for our Council.
  • They are the Registered Aboriginal Party formally representing the Traditional Owners (the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung People) of the area Moreland is situated in.
  • We invited them to suggest names, one of which was ‘Merri-bek’ which means ‘rocky country’.
  • As stated on the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation website:

‘Increasingly, Aboriginal language words are being employed to name public places, facilities (buildings and office suites), events, programs and products. It is protocol to engage with Traditional Owners to seek permission to use their language words, and seek guidance about what language words might be appropriate for use in these instances.

Many contemporary words and concepts will not have equivalent translations, particularly among Victorian language groups, so be prepared to be open to suggestions.’

No, other organisations and businesses that have the name Moreland don’t have to change their name if they do not wish.

Permits and fines

Yes, your permit is still valid even if it says Moreland City Council.

Moreland City Council General Local Law 2018 is still valid until a new Local Law is made. Therefore your permit is valid.

Examples of some of our permits:

  • Domestic Animal Business permit
  • Weekly parking permit and business parking permit
  • Excess animal permit
  • Footpath trading permit
  • Real Estate signage permit
  • Parklet permit
  • Skip permit
  • Roadside trading permit
  • Street trading and special events permit
  • Out of hours work permit
  • Accessible/Disabled parking permit

Yes, your fine is still valid and you will still need to pay.

Our name change does not have an impact on the validity and enforcement of matters by Council issued under Moreland City Council prior to the name change taking effect. Infringement notices issued under Moreland City Council and served on the intended recipients prior to the name change taking effect are still valid.

Yes, if you have a notice to comply or court summons issued by Moreland City Council, these are still valid.

Our name change has no impact on the validity and enforcement of matters by Council issued under Moreland City Council prior to the name change taking effect. Infringement notices issued under Moreland City Council and served on the intended recipients prior to the name change taking effect are still valid.

Criminal proceedings commenced and filed with the Court issued under Moreland City Council prior to the name change taking effect are still valid. These powers are still valid as they are all exercised in Council’s capacity as an authority under the applicable legislation.

Yes, you still must pay for timed parking.

Any existing reference to Moreland City Council is to be taken as a reference to Merri-bek City Council on and after 26 September 2022.

Yes, as of 26 September 2022 Moreland City Council changed its name to Merri-bek City Council and therefore all fines with reference to Merri-bek are valid on and after 26 September 2022.

Yes the Moreland City Council General Local Law 2018 is still valid until a new Local Law is made. We expect the process of creating a new Local Law to commence in the 2023 calendar year.

Renaming process

  • The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 recognises Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAP) as the primary guardians, keepers and knowledge holders of Aboriginal Cultural Heritage.
  • RAPs are the primary source of advice and knowledge on matters relating to Aboriginal places or Aboriginal objects in their region.

  • Our goal is to ensure everyone receives up-to-date information they can easily understand. This includes considerations for communicating with older people, younger people, people of various abilities and backgrounds and people who speak languages other than English.
  • We are keeping the community up to date on the context of this name change journey and the process.
  • We’re using our existing communications channels to get the word out. These include:
    o Inside Moreland

o Our digital channels like our website, social media, Conversations Moreland and e-newsletters

o Public displays at Council venues and facilities

o Public announcements (such as radio)

o Information stalls at our local events (and the distribution of information through our many council services)

  • We’re also working with local organisations, media outlets and our partners including the Moreland Connectors to share information (including translated information and resources) through community networks.

  • The costs to rename Moreland City Council will be approached in a careful and phased way. We will draw on existing budgets and make sure reduce any impact of service delivery.
  • It estimated $250,000 per year for 2 financial years ($500,000 total) is needed to update Council’s digital platforms, signs at significant Council buildings and facilities and municipal entry signs.
  • Rates to Moreland residents will not increase because of the renaming project.
  • The rebranding of Council assets such as street and park signs, smaller facilities signage, staff uniforms, vehicle and rubbish bins will be addressed incrementally within existing budget allocations and asset renewal programs over a 10-year timeframe.
  • Council has previously advised that the implementation of a new municipal name would cost $250,000 additional per year over two years, starting financial year 2022-23.
  • The community consultation process to choose a new name was rolled out in the financial year 2021-22 and did not require additional funding - it was met within existing budgets for community consultation and communications.
  • A budget of $67,000 was required for the community engagement process on options for new names, all funded within existing budgets. This included the cost of mailouts to residents, reply paid post for residents mailing back their feedback, and translation of information into languages other than English.