Name change not supported
TWO prominent Mandurah MLAs have shot down calls to rename the Peel region.
The Bindjareb Noongar traditional owners started a campaign to rename the Peel region due to the association the name Thomas Peel has with the massacre of Aboriginal people in Pinjarra 183 years ago.
Dawesville MLA Zak Kirkup, who is of Aboriginal descent, said he did not support changing the name of the Peel region.
“When I think of Peel as a region, I don’t think of its namesake; I think of the amazing people in our community who have taken that term and made it their own,” he said.
“These days I think ‘Peel’ is more of a reflection of the inclusive, warm community that I am proud to represent rather than any colonial history.
“I welcome the conversation and while I have my own personal opinion, I will always listen to my community and work hard to represent their views.
“I have to say there are far more significant issues facing the West Australian people which I think we should focus our attention on before we start changing names.
“Let’s focus our collective energy on trying to fix those issues first.”
Local Government Minister and Mandurah MLA David Templeman echoed Mr Kirkup’s views.
“It is not practical or feasible to rename the region; however, that does not mean that we do not need to acknowledge our rich and diverse Aboriginal and cultural history, which is integral to the story of WA,” he said.
“My priority remains the creation of jobs and opportunities for the people in the region.”
Murray-Wellington MLA Robyn Clarke said she supported the change.
In Mr Kirkup’s maiden speech to State Parliament he addressed the oppression of the rights of Aboriginal people, which included his own family. He spoke of the difficulty his family had getting married, moving freely and owning property.
“We should never forget the past, however I believe we are all far better served, in the spirit of meaningful reconciliation, to come together as Western Australians,” he said.
Thomas Peel was one of the earliest settlers in WA and helped settle the Swan River colony. After the theft of a horse and the death of a white servant in 1834, Peel requested a strengthened military presence in Pinjarra.
As many as 30 Noongar people were killed by the military in the 1834 Pinjarra Massacre.