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Cowes cultural centre to be named by local traditional owners Bunurong Land Council

Community involvement in naming historic cultural centres, honouring Bunurong Land Council. Council embraces reconciliation and recognizes First Nations heritage.

By news@gippsland - 17th May 2023 - Back to News

The Bass Coast community will be given an historic opportunity to help name the new cultural and community centre at Cowes, while celebrating our region's First Nations history. Bass Coast Shire Council today endorsed a plan to name the new facility in Cowes with a First Nations name to recognise the traditional owners of our land and seas, the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC). Construction of the landmark centre is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

McCorkell Constructions is nearing completion with the Cowes Cultural Centre building to be named in consultation with local Traditional Owners, Bunurong Land Council

McCorkell Constructions is nearing completion with the Cowes Cultural Centre building to be named in consultation with local Traditional Owners, Bunurong Land Council

Reconciliation through naming

Bass Coast Shire Council Mayor, Cr Michael Whelan, said the plan was consistent with council's commitment to First Nations reconciliation, recognised the unique role of Traditional Owners, and was appropriate for the significant cultural space.

Council is also guided in the official naming process outlined by the Geographical Place Names Act 1998, which encourages acknowledgment of the extensive history and heritage associated with First Nations communities.

"The naming of public buildings with First Nations language is a highly visible act of reconciliation and an opportunity to acknowledge First Nations communities in a meaningful and lasting way. The new facility will bring together the creative and social aspirations of our community to express our stories, plus showcase Bass Coast's culture and history," Cr Whelan said.

Naming preference

After extensive consultation, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC) has provided council with four naming options in the local Boon Wurrung language, with English translations:

  • Barmewoon - Meaning: Only My Strength
  • Mogarmarlarly Murk - Meaning: Lead Me
  • Berninneit - Meaning: Gather Together
  • Kummargee - Meaning: Rise Up

It is a condition of the Traditional Owners that any language options provided to council are not offered as a choice against other language options. This is consistent with current practice where Traditional Owners are engaged.

Voting is now open on the Engage Bass Coast website, which hosts the First Nations naming options for communities to choose, while seeking feedback and gauging community preference. The poll will be open until 19 June, more than 30 days, as per naming rules, which asks participants to select their preference, indicate why it resonates with them, while offering the opportunity to make comments, suggestions and objections.

After the engagement period has closed, data from community submissions will be collated. A report will then be presented at a future council meeting to formally endorse a name for adoption, followed by submission of the final name to Geographical Names Victoria for official endorsement.

Further information

The community is invited to vote for their preference at the provided link and we would love to hear feedback on why the naming words resonate with you. Cast your vote and feedback through 'First Nations naming of new cultural and community centre in Cowes'page. Please contact the Bass Coast Shire Council Communications team on

Pictures from Bass Coast Shire Council Facebook page.


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