Aboriginal elder Mullawallah to be honoured in name of Ballarat's newest suburb

Ballarat council looks set to name its newest suburb in the western growth zone after one of the city's most famous historical elders, Mullawallah, or King Billy as he was commonly known. 

Under the proposal, the area bounded by Wiltshire Lane, the Ballarat-Carngham Road and the Glenelg Highway will bear the name of the much-respected Aboriginal elder who is believed to have been the last of the Ballaarat tribe.

The recommendation, to be decided at Wednesday night's council meeting, selected the name from a list of 36 suggested names compiled from a total of 51 written public submissions.

The recognition of the Aboriginal heritage follows a pattern of traditional names for new suburbs including Balliang, south of Bacchus Marsh, and Truganina in Mebourne's West.

William Wilson, also known as Frank Wilson, was one of at least three Wathaurung (Wadda wurrung) men in the Ballarat region who were given the title "King Billy" by European settlers.

Respected Aboriginal elder Ted Lovett said the proposal would reinforce local knowledge of the traditional owners of the land.

"It will be a great thing. I think it's a great honour really. He was one of the last known traditional members of this country and the last of his mob," Mr Lovett said.

"It doesn't hurt people to know who the traditional owners of the land were."

He said Mullawallah - a hunter-gatherer and fisherman - would have known the land where the proposed suburb is very well.

The respect Mullawallah had earned among the indigenous and settler communities ensured a monument was raised in his honour at Ballarat New Cemetery following his death in 1896.

Mullawallah was a well known figure in the Ballarat area and reportedly gave an exhibition of boomerang throwing in Sturt Street in August 1880, attracting a large crowd.

Ballarat Council officers decided on the name from a short list of eight, rejecting some due to repetition, confusion or lack of connection with Ballarat.

Former MP Karen Overington's name was considered but the report details that the name is already in use for a park.

Other commemorative names such as Hollioake and Sloss were rejected either because the identities were still alive or they had no real connection to the area being named.

The name Yorkdale was rejected on the grounds that it was a commercial estate.

Despite the popularity of submission for the name Winter Creek, it was also seen to be too similar and easy to confuse with other areas such as Winter Flat and that the actual creek in the area was Kensington Creek.

The local Aboriginal Corporation, the Wathaurung, welcomed the suggested name for the new suburb and in a written statement to the council noted it was a great gesture of respect and reconciliation.

"We also see it as a great way to educate the wider community about the history of Ballarat and a way to dispel any myths that there isn't any Wadawurrung left," it said in the statement.


Discuss "Ballarat's newest suburb set to be named Mullawallah"

Please note: All comments made or shown here are bound by the Online Discussion Terms & Conditions.