Name change not sup­ported

Pinjarra Murray Times - - NEWS - Rachel Fen­ner

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.

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