Vesteys Beach in Darwin is no more, having been given a new Aboriginal name, Bundilla Beach, thanks to campaigning from the local Larrakia community.
The “Vestey” in the beach’s old name is in fact the very same British meat magnate Lord William Vestey who, along with his descendants, refused to pay Aboriginal workers on his outback cattle station until Vincent Lingiari led a decade-long strike to get his people’s land back.
If you’ve heard the song “From Little Things, Big Things Grow”, you’ll know just what a bunch of dickheads the Vesteys were, and what a shocking choice of person Lord Vestey was to name a beach after in the first place.
Meanwhile, the beach’s new name of Bundilla Beach means “young girl” in the Larrakia language, which has significance in the local First Nations culture.
“I am happy about it because this is my place,” Larrakia elder Barbara Mills-Raymond, who led the campaign to change the name, told ABC News on Sunday.
“It’s not too often that anything is named after us or our people.”
.@jpatto12 Vestey’s Beach site renamed Bundilla Beach in recognition of the Larrakia people. Bundilla means ‘young girl’ and has significance for the Larrakia people.
Thanks Larrakia Elder Barbara Mills-Raymond and her son Kootji Raymond for bringing this name forward pic.twitter.com/PdHZSXSv4x
— Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance NT????????❤️ (@AMSANTaus) March 20, 2021
Her son, Kootji Raymond, also told the ABC that the old name obviously “symbolises domination and control”, just as it did during the Wave Hill Walk-Off during the 60s and 70s, and earlier.
The name change was actioned by the NT Government in consultation with the Larrakia Nation and the Larrakia Development Corporation as well as the City of Darwin council.
“The Territory and its people are unique, with a rich and lasting culture that is thousands of years old, with many stories to tell and I thank the Raymond Family for bringing this name to the Place Names Committee,” NT Planning Minister Eva Lawler said in a statement.
City of Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis added: “We are always looking at new and innovative ways to revitalise our land areas, to make them culturally friendly and appealing.”
It’s one less reminder of one of the most prominent injustices committed against Aboriginal people in the last century. Now let’s do the same for every other place named after some racist dickhead.Image: Ken Hodge / CC-BY