Farewell Jim Crow: gathering recognises creek renaming

July 24th, 2023Farewell Jim Crow: gathering recognises creek renaming

Around 50 people came together last Tuesday at a special event to celebrate the renaming of Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yaluk at the picturesque creek bank at Franklinford

Around 50 people came together last Tuesday at a special event to celebrate the renaming of Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramal Yaluk at the picturesque creekbank at Franklinford.

Dja Dja Wurrung community members attended the event along with representatives from Hepburn Shire Council and project partners Mount Alexander Shire Council, North Central Catchment Management Authority and DJAARA, who worked together to campaign for the renaming of the creek over many years.

Elder Uncle Rick Nelson performed a smoking ceremony and Jason Kerr played the didgeridoo.

Dja Dja Wurrung Group CEO Rodney Carter said renaming of the creek was an exciting day.

“The former name memorialised a sorry chapter in our shared history. It was offensive to my people, and I think, to others. That name meant this creek was not a culturally safe place for Dja Dja Wurrung and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. 

“Bringing a Dja Dja Wurrung presence back to Country is significant for Dja Dja Wurrung People’s health and wellbeing. We are also pleased to share our language and heritage with the wider community.

“Larni Barramal Yaluk means ‘the creek that flows through the home or dreaming place of the emu’.

“This decade, 2022 to 2032, has been proclaimed by the UN as the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. The UN recognises the right of Indigenous Peoples to preserve and revitalise their languages, and the dire plight of Indigenous languages across the world.

“I’d especially like to acknowledge the invaluable work of Dja Dja Wurrung man Harley Dunolly-Lee, who works tirelessly to rematriate Dja Dja Wurrung language, and our Djali Balak language committee,” Mr Carter said.

Mayor of Hepburn Shire Cr Brian Hood said it was a proud day for Council and the community.

“It was important to come together at the creek and celebrate this name change on Country,” said Cr Hood, Mayor of Hepburn Shire.

“The reality is that Jim Crow stems from racial segregation and anti-black racism and is therefore unacceptable. Renaming the creek back to Indigenous language is a way of reconnecting this beautiful landscape with the culture and language of Dja Dja Wurrung.

“The renaming of this creek is such a positive step forward for recognition and reconciliation. We are very proud to have played a role in this important work.”

Geographic Names Victoria gazetted Larni Barramal Yaluk as the new name in May.

Hepburn Shire Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council both resolved to request Geographic Names Victoria to rename the creek at their Ordinary Council Meetings in April 2022. There are strict protocols on renaming roads, localities and landscape features. The process included significant community engagement on renaming of the creek in late 2021, with overwhelming support for a change.

Mount Alexander Shire Council’s Mayor, Cr Rosie Annear, said that the renaming of the creek is an important step towards reconciliation and recognition.

“The origins of the original name are unacceptable, and here at Mount Alexander Shire Council we do everything in our power to stand together against racism and towards reconciliation,” said Cr Annear.

“The name Larni Barramal Yaluk is beautiful, inclusive and honours the Traditional Owners of this land. It also reinstates Dja Dja Wurrung language into the landscape,” she said.

“The decision to rename the creek follows consultation with our community, various stakeholders, DJAARA and local Indigenous elders. Our community has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the change and we’re proud to be part of this important moment in history.”

A historic reference to the name Jim Crow Creek will be included in the VICNAMES register and will remain a part of the region’s history.

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