Estate’s name shame

Dept. Mayor Jack Medcraft. (Joe Mastroianni). 229219_01

By Jessica Micallef

Hume council is considering changing the name of a Sunbury residential estate to reflect a more meaningful translation.

Deputy mayor Jack Medcraft raised a notice of motion during last month’s council meeting for the council to write to the appropriate body to have the name ‘Goonawarra’ – a residential locality on the eastern outskirts of Sunbury – removed and replaced by the “proper” Aboriginal name, ‘Gunawarra’.

Cr Medcraft, who is the first part indigenous councillor to represent Hume, said when translated, Goonawarra meant “s**t place”.

He said Gunawarra translated to “swan place” and was a more appropriate name.

“The word Goonawarra in the Aboriginal language is something we wouldn’t want to have,” he said.

“It could be offensive to some people. I don’t know who originally came up with the name but I think someone’s had the last laugh.

“What I want it to do, is for it to be Gunawarra, which is swan place.”

Cr Medcraft said he had spoken to the Premier’s department to begin a process of having the name changed.

“It has to go through government bodies and it has to go through a certain process,” he said.

“It’s not just a wipe of the name.”

Cr Medcraft said organisations, places and sites with Goonawarra in their name like the vineyard, Goonawarra Neighbourhood House and Goonawarra Primary School would not be affected by a change of name.

“They will still have the name and it will only be a matter of changing a few letters. It’s not like we are changing the name dramatically,” he said.

“I really would be more comfortable having a real Aboriginal name in that estate rather than having something where we are the laughing stock.”

Sunbury Residents Association treasurer Wendy Walters said the council needed to undertake proper translation research from an “authoritative resource”.

“I researched the name years ago and it was resting place of the black swan and I thought it was beautiful,” she said.

The Goona Warra Vineyard’s website says Goona Warra translates to “black swan” in the local indigenous language.

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation and the Goona Warra Vineyard was contacted for comment.