A decision has been made on a controversial plan to rename Blackfellows Creek — but it is not the one we expected.
A decision has been made on a controversial plan to rename Blackfellows Creek — but it is not the one we expected.

Watered down decision made on Blackfellows Creek name

Cairns Regional Council has unanimously voted to engage the public about renaming Blackfellows Creek Park, but the push has been watered down significantly.

The council's meeting agenda originally contained two motions - to write to the State Government requesting Blackfellow Creek to be renamed, and to rename the adjoining park.

Only the second motion was within the council's remit to do on its own.

However, the motions were changed.

The council did not vote on the creek renaming, and has opted to conduct further community consultation rather than pushing ahead with the new park name.

Blackfellows Creek is being renamed Bana Gindarja and Blackfellows Creek Park is being renamed the Allan and May Oliver Park. May Oliver with eight of her 10 children, Allan Oliver, Jr, Estella Harris, Charlotte Wone, Frank Oliver, Selina Oliver, Phillip Oliver, Marilyn Oliver and James Oliver at the park. Picture: Stewart McLean
Blackfellows Creek is being renamed Bana Gindarja and Blackfellows Creek Park is being renamed the Allan and May Oliver Park. May Oliver with eight of her 10 children, Allan Oliver, Jr, Estella Harris, Charlotte Wone, Frank Oliver, Selina Oliver, Phillip Oliver, Marilyn Oliver and James Oliver at the park. Picture: Stewart McLean


It has been proposed it would be renamed Allan and May Oliver Park/Bana Gindarja Park.

Division 2 councillor Rob Pyne said it would be "great honour" to name the park after Allan and May Oliver.

Councillor for Division 1 Brett Moller said the Olivers were well known for their dedication to the southern Cairns community.

"The Oliver family were really well known and respected in the Edmonton community.

"I grew up with the Olivers ... the next generation of Olivers, their children and grandchildren are still contributing to the community and this would be a great acknowledgment."

The council will now undertake consultation, as required by the Naming of Parks and Reserves General Policy, for the renaming of Blackfellows Creek Park.

EARLIER: Moves are afoot to ditch the names Blackfellows Creek and Blackfellows Creek Park at Edmonton - renaming the creek Bana Gindarja Creek and the park the Allan and May Oliver Park/Bana Gindarja Park.

And May Oliver, who turns 82 next week, couldn't be more pleased.

"I am humbled and very honoured, it is a really good thing," the matriarch of 10 children, 35 grandchildren and 40-plus great-grandchildren said.

She has lived in Edmonton all her life, with husband Allan, who died aged 75 six years ago, playing a prominent role in rugby league in the Far North.

He was the first Indigenous life member of Cairns District Rugby League. For 51 years, he played, captained and coached, refereed and was a Foley Shield selector for Cairns and Innisfail.

Mr Oliver also started the Ivanhoes rugby league club, which grew quickly, and was a life member of Southern Suburbs.

Their home at Edmonton was a drop-in centre for people of all ages

The couple had Allan, James, Selina, Phillip, Frank, Estelle, Charlotte, Marilyn, Mark and Warren and all offspring and their families still live in the area.

 

May Oliver at the current Blackfellows Creek Park in Edmonton. Picture: Stewart McLean
May Oliver at the current Blackfellows Creek Park in Edmonton. Picture: Stewart McLean

Phillip said the family was just happy to have the park potentially named after their parents.

"Mum and Dad have made a big contribution to the community - years ago it was like a halfway house, everyone came there."

Asked if he felt the name "Blackfellows Creek" was inappropriate, he said he didn't want to get into politics.

"We are just happy mum and dad are being recognised," he said.

Yidinji traditional owners have advised the creek was known as Bana Gindarja - which refers to the cassowary, an important cultural totem.

The Oliver family identify as Yidinji. At its meeting this week, Cairns Regional Council is likely to vote to support a proposal by traditional owners to make a submission to the relevant state department to rename the creek.

But the request to rename Blackfellows Creek Park will be subject to a future report to consider the change "following community consultation activities" in line with council policy.

Creek naming is the responsibility of the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy, while park naming is council's responsibility.

The council report noted there had been requests to rename the creek dating back to 1998 but nothing came to fruition.

Last year, council's planning and environment committee unanimously backed councillor Rob Pyne's call for new names for Blackfellows Creek, which he said was "jolting" at best and "discriminatory" at worst.

 

Originally published as Watered down decision made on Blackfellows Creek name



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