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.
Update as at Tuesday 6 February 2018
Council has removed the Batman Park archway following recent damage to the sign. The sign has been removed to protect it from further damage, ensure the area surrounding the entrance is safe to pedestrians and to ensure its safekeeping for possible future use within the park once the proposed park renaming is approved.
Renaming the Federal Electorate of Batman
The federal electorate 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 (Yarra and Darebin make up the majority of the division).
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.
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.
In November 2017 Darebin City Council, together with the Wurundjeri Tribe Land and Compensation Cultural Heritage Council and Yarra City Council lodged a joint submission calling for the renaming of the Federal Electorate of Batman to the federal electorate of Simon Wonga.
Redistribution update as at 10 April 2018
The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has just announced the Redistribution Committee's Recommendations.
At this stage, the proposal (a joint submission from Darebin Council with Yarra and Wurundjeri Council) to change the name of the federal electoral division from Batman to Simon Wonga has not been accepted (see recommendations, particularly pages 39 and 100).
The Committee do not give specific reasons for this, simply “propos[ing] that the Batman name be retained”.
Darebin Council is disappointed in this interim recommendation that fails to capture how renaming the electorate of Batman is part of the long journey towards reconciliation. We are consulting with co-submitters Yarra Council and Wurundjeri Council on the next steps.
The process is now continuing and there is an opportunity to provide feedback to the Redistribution Committee’s recommendations.
Council's position on why the name of Batman should not be retained for the federal electorate.
Further details on the redistribution process are available. Anyone can object and objections must be lodged by close of business on Friday, 4 May 2018.
- Out of the 7 redistribution steps undertaken by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) we are now at Step 4.
- People were asked to make comments to the suggestions (submissions) received by the commission by the 17 November 2017.
- Comments on these suggestions closed on 1 December 2017.
- In total, the AEC received 67 suggestions and 58 comments for all electoral divisions.
- For the electorate of Batman there were 20 suggestions (submissions) and 10 comments on suggestions.
See the AEC website for the Electoral Redistribution Timeframes.
In summary the next steps are:
- April 2018: A report on the proposed redistribution release and objections to this report called
- May 2018: Objections available for viewing
- May 2018: Comments of objections called
- May 2018: Comments on Objections available for viewing
- June/July 2018: Augmented Electoral Commission announces electoral divisions
- June/July 2018: Further objection period announced (if required)
- 13 July 2018: AEC announces redistribution, tables it in Parliament and report is publicly available.
See the AEC website for details on the redistribution process and how to make a submission.
Darebin Council does not have the authority to change the name of the Batman electorate; the AEC has sole responsibility for this decision.
We will continue to update this page with details about the submission period.
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If you have any comments, questions about the project or some information to share, please contact us.
Coordinator Equity & Diversity
Ph: 8470 8365