“I’m extremely proud that we won’t be getting rid of our culture or history." says a relieved Gordon Workman of the failed attempt by some Blacktown City Councillors to change the name of the greater western Sydney suburb.
"If we lose the name, there goes our history with the name, there goes everything.”
The issue of a name change was raised halfway through last year with several councillors, and members of the public claiming that the name Blacktown had a racist past, and that it was time to refresh the town’s image.
The council surveyed 3,133 residents, with over 80 percent voting against the changes. The survey cost the council $98,000.00.
The City of Blacktown is home to 8195 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the second highest after Campbelltown, and holds strong cultural significance.
The area was known in the 1820’s as, ‘The Blacks Town’, because it was home to a school for Aboriginal children, dubbed The Black Town Native Institute.
Mr Workman, a Darug man and self-proclaimed ‘Blackterrian’, says his grandmother was born across from the Institute site.
“Every other Darug is proud, and hopefully every other Australian will be too, because it never lost anything. Blacktown will never lose its name, we’ve got no problem with it. We are black, we can’t help that.”
Local mayor, Stephen Bali is also relieved the name change didn’t go ahead.
“At the last local council elections, no one even mentioned a name change as an issue. Transport, development, social development, employment and Indigenous issues - that’s what I want to work on, this is an unwanted distraction, I’d rather do community forums on the quality of life for Blacktown residents,” Mr Bali says.
The survey, 'What’s in a name….? ', that was sent to Blacktown residents
1. Should the Blacktown Council change its name? Y/N/Unsure
2. If so, do you agree with the proposed name Western Sydney council?
3. Do you support to another name? Y/N/Unsure
4. What name(s) do you propose?