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EDITORIAL APRIL 2023

A STRONG CASE TO NOW CHANGE RUSSELL ISLAND TO CANAIPA ISLAND

Another attempt is being made to change Russell Island to Canaipa Island. Member for Redlands, Kim Richards, has told The Friendly Bay Islander that she has spoken with Queensland Minister for Resources, Scott Stewart MP whose portfolio also is responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land interests and titles and land management. The Redlands MP has already started steps to change the name of Russell Island to Canaipa Island. She is currently conducting a survey on her website to gauge community support for the name change. This is not the first attempt to bring about the name change. It last happened in 2014 and, even though there was strong support right across the spectrum for the change, the LNP Government of the day wasn’t brave enough to make it happen. This time it is different. The State Labor Government is far more inclined to re-introduce indigenous names to major places and areas. The most significant recent change is that of Fraser Island. It is now known as K’gari Island. Member for Redlands, Kim Richards, is a strong proponent of similar changes and believes the K’gari renaming provides the impetus for change here. She has already approached Queensland Minister for Resources, Scott Stewart MP whose portfolio also is responsible for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land interests and titles and land management. He has overseen the Fraser/K’gari change. There is already considerable reason for the Russell/Canaipa Island name change. Aside from the derogatory historical happenings that seem to pop up every time the name Russell Island is mentioned; there is already much use of the Canaipa name in the island business community. Redland City Council’s Divison 5 Cr Mark Edwards said: “Changing the name of Russell Island back to its traditional indigenous name Canaipa Island has been a topic of discussion in the community for a number of years, so it is great the community now has another opportunity to have their say.” .The proposal for change has also been previously endorsed by the Quandamooka people with Cameron Costello, the former CEO of QYAC previously stating: "QYAC do hope this proposal is successful and we look forward to celebrating Quandamooka culture on Canaipa Island in the future." Russell Island was originally called Canaipa (meaning ironbark spear). It was named Russell Island in the 1840s after Lord John Russell, Secretary of State for the colonies in the 1840s. The Friendly Bay Islander also believes ‘it’s time’ for a name change, particularly in the case of Russell Island. An initial dual use could work, with the indigenous name to eventually take precedent. Kim Richards believes that all three of the four SMMB Islands should revert to their aboriginal names. In tyre case of Macleay it is Jencoomercha and Lamb Island it is Ngudooroo. There will be those who won’t support the change for various reasons, but for people in business who think a name change will be costly for them, they actually don’t have to change the name of their businesses! Kim Richards said “There will clearly be multiple use of names for some time during a period of transition. “It does not have to impact any current business names, unless the businesses themselves wish to do so,” the Member for Redlands said. You can participate in the current survey and email her office with your thoughts at redlands@parliament.qld.gov.au


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