Renaming Batman Park
With support from Wurundjeri Elders from the Wurundjeri Tribal Land Compensation and Cultural Heritage Council ('Wurundjeri Council') we held four community consultations to illuminate the many connections between the Aboriginal heritage and history of this area, and to hear the community's feedback on the renaming.
Following extensive community consultation, Darebin City Council has formally endorsed ‘Gumbri’ as the preferred name for Batman Park. The new name needs to be now endorsed by the State Government.
The name Gumbri; has endorsement by The Wurundjeri Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation Wurundjeri Corporation.
Gumbri, also known as Jessie Hunter, was a much loved and respected Wurundjeri Elder. Her name means 'white dove' in Woi wurrung, the traditional language of the Wurundjeri people. She was the last girl born on the Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve in Healesville and she had a great passion for Wurundjeri people and Country with a special interest in bush foods and medicines.
Overall, the community expressed:
A positive response to the potential renaming of Batman Park to recognise the traditional owners
A high level of respect for the experience and wisdom of Wurundjeri Elders
A desire for recognition of John Batman to be retained in some way within the park
Support for constitutional recognition, recognition of Traditional Owners, reconciliation, and a potential treaty
A high level of interest in accessing local places and spaces to learn more about the Aboriginal history, living culture, spirituality and heritage of Darebin
A desire to retain the visibility of Batman in some form within the Park, keeping all layers of history visible and ensuring continued and respectful acknowledgement of the past.
Where to from here?
Council has lodged an application for the recommended name with the registrar Office of Geographic Names as required under law. The final name change is subject to outcomes of the statutory process set out under the Geographical Place Naming Act 1988.
How long will the process take?
It is anticipated that the naming process including formal gazetting under the Geographical Names Act will be completed in early 2018. The status of Council’s submission can be viewed on the Office of Geographic Names website.
Does this mean that the name of Batman Park will definitely change?
The renaming is more than just a replacement of one name with another. In the spirit of reconciliation, Darebin City Council, Wurundjeri Council and the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee are committed to ensuring that the life and legacy of John Batman is still visible in the park alongside the multiple stories and histories of the park that enhance our city.
If Gumbri is approved by the Registrar of Geographic Names, the new name must be erected with 30 days of the name being gazetted and registered.
Council will then engage with the Traditional Owners and Darebin community in the planning, design and implementation of permanent signage for the main park entry. The process will consider feedback provided during the earlier community conversations.
Council Officers, with the support of Wurundjeri Elders and the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee, will be charged to plan, design and implement this legacy project. This will involve a further and deeper engagement to create opportunities for the wider community in the planning and co-design of the park. An artist will be commissioned to work with community on various aspects of the park such as permanent signage and the many rich histories of the park.
Renaming the Federal Electorate of Batman
The Division of Batman
The federal electorate or Division of Batman was created in 1906, replacing the Division of Northern Melbourne. Batman is located in Melbourne’s northern suburbs and stretches through three local government areas: Yarra, Darebin and Whittlesea. It takes in Alphington, Clifton Hill, Fairfield, Kingsbury, Northcote, Preston, Reservoir and Thornbury, and parts of Bundoora, Coburg North, Macleod and Thomastown. It covers an area of approximately 66sq kilometres from Thomastown/Bundoora in the north to Clifton Hill in the south, with Merri Creek providing the vast majority of the western boundary, and the eastern boundary provided by Darebin Creek, parts of Macleod and Plenty Road in Bundoora.
The cities of Yarra and Darebin make up the vast majority of the Federal Division of Batman.
Of the 37 federal electoral divisions in Victoria, nine are named in Aboriginal languages: Ballarat, Corangamite, Corio, Indi, Jaga Jaga, Kooyong, Mallee, Maribyrnong, and Wannon.
Any interested citizen, community group, or organisation can make a submission. It must be a written submission in the form of letter, an email, or petition. A submission may be any length. If the submission is longer than a few pages, it is useful to include a summary at the front. All submissions must include the name of the electorate (Batman).
Community groups or a group of individuals intending to make a submission on the same topic may choose to use a petition attached to one submission to the Redistribution Committee.
To help with the processing of petitions, your document should show how many people have signed the petition, and it should be provided as an unprotected word or excel table in order to streamline the redaction of names and addresses.
Submissions can be sent to:
- Email: FedRedistribution-VIC@aec.gov.au
- In person: Redistribution Committee for Victoria, Australian Electoral Commission, Level 1, Urban Workshop, 50 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
- Mail: Redistribution Committee for Victoria, Australian Electoral Commission, GPO Box 768, Melbourne VIC 3001
- Fax: 02 6293 7664
Suggestions, submission and petitions must be received by the committee by 6pm AEDT Friday 17 November. The AEC will make all suggestions received available for public inspection from Monday 20 November. The public will then have until 6pm AEDT on Friday 1 December 2017 to lodge written comments on suggestions.
A local advocacy group "Rename Batman" has formed to encourage community support for a change to the name of the Batman electorate. For more information, email the Rename Batman group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on the AEC’s redistribution process including how to make a submission can be found on the AEC website.
Darebin Council will update the public about the submission period on Council’s website www.darebin.vic.gov.au/batmanconversations.
Darebin Council does not have the authority to change the name of the Batman electorate; the AEC has sole responsibility for this decision.
To receive regular updates on both of these projects, please join our email list by emailing a request to email@example.com.
If you have any comments, questions about the project or some information to share, please contact us.
Coordinator Equity & Diversity
Ph: 8470 8365