BY ZARA HANDSCOMB
Former Coon Island and Coon Island Point in Swansea will be renamed Pirrita Island and Miners Point respectively.
The Island was named after the first recorded permanent of the island, Herbert Heany. Who was nicknamed ‘coon’, as he was often found with coal dust on his face.
After many years of reports deeming the name of Coon Island of racist nature, Lake Macquarie Council and Bahtabah Local Aboriginal Council came together to review the name. The name change considered feedback from community a community survey, and key stakeholders, traditional owners and the Heany family.
Lake Macquarie councillor, Kevin Baker has slammed the former name saying it “was a name that was genuinely racist and genuinely hurtful to a lot of people in our community.”
Over two-thousand people submitted survey responses regarding the name change, in which fifty-six percent responded negatively. The motion to change the name was passed 8-5 and the council are due to submit an application to the Geographical names board.
Cr Baker says this will enable the community to commence healing, “…we recognise both the European history and the significant contribution minors have had to the area, plus the sixty-thousand years plus of Indigenous history that the places have. Now is the time for the community to come together, embrace our shared history and heal,” Cr Baker said.