New name tests waters
A DEBATE has been reignited over whether Lake Monger should be restored to its Aboriginal name.
It was a meeting place for Aboriginal people, who knew it as Galup, but today Lake Monger still bears the name of settler John Henry Monger.
UWA Indigenous Studies Professor and Australian Research Council chief investigator Len Collard has thrown his support behind a push to restore Lake Monger’s Aboriginal name.
“There is a powerful shift by Noongar intellectuals to reclaim the names of places,” Prof Collard said.
“The original name was Lake Galup or Kalup, which is the ‘home fire’ or ‘location of home’; hence, that’s where people lived. “It was the centre of our world. “I’ve seen literature refer to it as the first Perth; it was the centre of people’s commerce.”
In 1996, the City of Subiaco and the Geographic Names Committee, Aboriginal Affairs Department and Aboriginal Sites Register restored the name of Shenton Park Lake to Lake Jualbup.
Subiaco’s chief executive at the time, Patrick Walker, said the Aboriginal name change was a significant and appropriate step toward reconciliation.
Town of Cambridge Mayor Keri Shannon said she would investigate whether there was support to change the name of Lake Monger.
“I think it’s really important to acknowledge the cultural significance,” Ms Shannon said.
“Absolutely it’s worth putting it to the council; it is something I would like to investigate. “I don’t have a problem with it.” Cambridge acting chief executive Jason Lyon said the Town received a request to recognise the lake’s Aboriginal name during consultation for the Lake Monger Management Plan 2007-2008.
“During the course of the consultation, a request was made to council to recognise the Aboriginal name Galup for Lake Monger,” Mr Lyon said.
“As a result of this request, the council endorsed the inclusion of the name Galup on one of the interpretive signs installed at the lake last year.
“In addition, the name Galup is included on three entry statement signs due to be installed at the lake in April this year.”
There is a powerful shift by Noongar intellectuals to reclaim the names of places.
WHAT’S in a name? By any other name, Lake Monger would still smell like duck poo. It would still attract young families for picnics, be circled by fitness fanatics, defended by grumpy swans, and still be one of my favourite spots. When Kevin Rudd moved a motion of apology to the Stolen Generation, I remember a lot of people asking: “Why bother?”. They said…“It happened so long ago. It’s not like we had anything to do with it personally. “This is just a symptom of white guilt. Why dredge up uncomfortable history?”. They completely missed the point. I imagine there will be many people who oppose renaming Lake Monger to Lake Galup for very similar reasons. At the end of the day, it does not matter what Lake Monger is called. However, there are thousands of indigenous West Australians who do care – they care very much. And that makes all the difference.
There is a move to change the name of Lake Monger to its
Aboriginal name of Galup.