Creek with one of Australia’s most racist place names could soon be renamed to honour the local Indigenous population
- Councils consider proposal to change the name of Jim Crow Creek in Victoria
- It could be renamed to Larni Barramal Yaluk meaning ‘Home of the Emu Creek’
- Hepburn Mayor said term ‘Jim Crow’ is rooted in racial segregation and racism
- Survey proposing name change will be sent to those living 200m from creek
A creek with one of Australia’s most racist place names could soon be renamed to honour indigenous locals.
Hepburn Shire Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council have proposed to rename Victoria’s Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yaluk.
Residents of the rural councils, who live within 200m of the creek, will be asked whether it should be renamed to the indigenous place name.
Victoria’s Jim Crow Creek (pictured) could be changed to Larni Barramal Yaluk to honour indigenous locals
Larni Barramal Yaluk translates to ‘Home of the Emu Creek’ and was proposed by Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.
Rodney Carter, cheif executive officer of Dja Dja Warrung, said it would be a positive move to bring back Traditional Owner’s language and people into the landscape.
‘Naming places in our language opens up conversations so when people say that word, it is talking to country,’ Mr Carter said.
‘You create a degree of fondness and care of a place.’
Hepburn mayor Lesley Hewitt said the history of the name ‘Jim Crow’ is associated with racial segregation and racism, with calls to change the name for years.
The creek name has been rooted in racial segregation and racism – referring to US white actor Thomas Darmouth’s blackface minstrel character
‘The history of the term ‘Jim Crow’ is rooted in racial segregation and racism. We want to learn, acknowledge and move forward together,’ said Cr Lesley Hewitt.
‘By reinstating a name that reconnects our community with the Dja Dja Wurrung culture and language that spans many thousands of years, we are setting the standard for how we can support the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples.’
The derogatory name arose from a slur used against African Americans in 1828 after US white actor Thomas Dartmouth developed the first blackface minstrel character.
Darmouth’s ‘Jump Jim Crow’ song and dance routine performance where he portrayed a grossly stereotyped African American was known worldwide.
During the 1830’s the name was first applied by Captain John Hepburn in the area of Mt Franklin and was used to refer to the mountain, Aboriginal Protectorate, creek and goldfields.
The term was also used to refer to Indigenous people living in the area.
Hepburn Shire Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council have proposed the new name after years of calls to change the creeks racist place name
Residents and businesses living within 200metres of the creek will be sent a survey via mail on the proposed name change.
The engagement phase of the project will run from 30 September to 12 November with the councils to announce its decision between February and March next year.
It is not the first time an Indigenous place name has been reinstated in recognition of Aboriginal heritage.
World-famous Fraser Island is set to be renamed after after a long-fought campaign by Indigenous elders.
The World Heritage Site, an island off the Queensland coast, was changed to K’gari – meaning ‘paradise’.
Other national parks in Queensland have previously been re-named in consultation with traditional owners earlier this year.
They include Naree Budjong Djara National Park on Minjerribah, formerly North Stradbroke Island and Gheebulum Kunungai National Park on Mulgumpin, formerly Moreton Island.