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Aboriginal Elders give WA council green light to return park to Indigenous name

Brendan Foster -

Aboriginal Elders in Boorloo (Perth) have given a Western Australian council permission to change a reserve back to its original First Nations name.

The City of Vincent unanimously voted on Tuesday night to rename Banks Reserve in the leafy suburb of Mt Lawley to Warndoolier.

The city then met with the Elders of the Boordiya Reference Group on Wednesday, who supported the single naming of the park to Warndoolier.

The 3.5 ha reserve on the Swan River foreshore in Mt Lawley, bounded by Joel Terrace, the old East Perth Power Station and the Toni Di Scerni wetlands, is recognised as a Place of Reconciliation.

Banks Reserve is also known for its cultural significance as a meeting place and camp for First Nations people.

The council has one more hurdle to overcome, by putting an application to Landgate, who make the final call on behalf of the Minister for Lands, John Carey

"We acknowledge Banks Reserve is intrinsically connected to Aboriginal people and as a community, we must continue to recognise and support the history of Aboriginal language and culture along with the ongoing connection to country, Vincent mayor Alison Xamon said.

"By capturing the original place name, Warndoolier, and the relationship the Traditional Owners have with the reserve, we will be contributing to the preservation of Aboriginal culture and Noongar language in our suburbs.

"It is so important that we recognise the original First Nations heritage of this land."

Mayor Xamon said renaming Banks Reserve was a significant step towards reviving the traditional names of Aboriginal areas in Vincent.

"The reviving of significant site names is an important part of preserving our history and demonstrating our commitment to reconciliation," she said.

"Since 2012, we have been consulting with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal Elders, the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and Aboriginal organisations on the dual naming/renaming of Banks Reserve.

"We will also be installing an interpretation node at the park, which will provide the opportunity for visitors to gain information about the history and ecology of the foreshore and surrounding environment, including Aboriginal cultural heritage information and stories.

Mayor Xamon said the city received strong community feedback on the proposal to change the reserve back to the Noogar name Warndoolier.

The council received 276 submissions with more than 55 per cent wanting Banks Reserve to be renamed Warndoolier.

The inner-city council also spent five years, working with Traditional Owners, the Vincent Boordiya Reference Group, the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG) and Aboriginal organisations in relation to Banks Reserve.

Historic maps from the 1900s to 1940s show that the reserve's Noongar name was Warndulier.

The reserve was previously called Walter's Brook in the 1840s and Swan Street Reserve in the 1890s.

It was renamed Banks Reserve after City of Perth councillor Ronald Frederick Banks in 1963.

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