Respect, embrace, increase and celebrate First Peoples’ place names – Maroondah Hospital petition handed over

Oct 7, 2022

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria today delivered a petition that over 50,000 people have signed to urge the Victorian Premier not to scrap the Aboriginal name of a hospital so it can be renamed after Queen Elizabeth II. 

Assembly co-chair and proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, Marcus Stewart, said it was a reflection of the desire of many non-First Nations people in Australia to learn more about, connect with and celebrate the oldest living culture in the world. 

“Celebrating our languages and using our words is a way to help keep our culture alive and thriving here in Victoria where it’s been practiced for countless generations. Anyone who loves living in Victoria would surely want to deepen their connections to this land and our incredible history,” said Mr Stewart. 

Maroondah is a word from the language of the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung people which means ‘throwing leaves’. Last month the Premier sparked a wave of anger and disbelief when he revealed his Government intends to rename Maroondah’s local hospital in honour of the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

“We’ve lost enough of our culture, our history and our people thanks to colonialism. It would be a real misstep to erase an Aboriginal name to make room for the very symbol of colonialism. Hopefully the Victorian Premier is willing to listen to the voices of First Peoples in this state, but perhaps having public opinion so firmly in our corner will also help nudge a rethink on this one,” said Mr Stewart. 

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is the democratic voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the journey to Treaty in Victoria and has been tasked to develop the framework and architecture that will enable Traditional Owners to negotiate Treaties with the Victorian Government. 

Mr Stewart said although the Premier’s announcement was disappointing, it wouldn’t derail the Victorian Treaty process which is due to reach a key milestone this month before the Government enters caretaker mode. 

“We’ve had plenty of disagreements along the way, but you need to keep your eye on the bigger picture and we’re making very good progress towards Treaty. We’re on the verge of an agreement that will mean our collective voice can’t be ignored by politicians. We want Treaty to put First Peoples in the driver’s seat when it comes to the decisions that affect our communities, our culture and our Country,” said Mr Stewart. 

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