Renaming town ‘unsound way to go’


A PROPOSAL to change the name of Rosebud West to Capel Sound was delivered to the shire council last week but it appears to be on shaky ground as many residents push back against the idea.

Fourteen residents led by Terry Wright want to change the name, claiming there is a disconnection between the name and the area’s real character “and the impact this has on the pride we feel about our place”.

“The name Rosebud West has no relevance to the locality and assumes it has no character in its own right. Rosebud was the name of a ship that ran aground near the current Rosebud jetty a long time ago.”

The group, which itself does not have a name, says that being north, south, east or west of something implies it’s merely an appendage of somewhere else.

Rosebud West having its own postcode – 3940 – would make the change easier, Mr Wright said.

He said group members had surveyed 197 residents in eight parts of the town and 55 businesses on Point Nepean Rd and in the industrial estate (perhaps ironically known as Rosebud Industrial Estate). Residents surveyed were 66 per cent in favour of a change, 13 per cent opposed and 21 per cent no opinion. Businesses in Point Nepean Rd were 73 per cent in favour, 9 per cent opposed and 18 per cent no opinion. In the industrial estate, it was 45 per cent, 30 per cent and 25 per cent.

The proposal will go before a council meeting and six of 11 councillors must vote in favour of starting a statutory process that includes sending a survey to all owners and occupiers of homes and businesses in the town.

Results will be included in a report to councillors who then decide if the name change goes ahead. It would need to be ratified by Victoria’s Office of Geographical Names.

But there has been a strong reaction against the proposal with some residents dismissing the idea as an April Fool’s Day stunt.

Long-time resident and community volunteer Juanita Aitken (the shire’s 2011 citizen of the year) reportedly said the proposed change was a waste of time, money and effort but Nepean state MP Martin Dixon initially backed the move although late last week he issued a statement stating: “I support the Rosebud West community should it decide to change the name from Rosebud West to Capel Sound however this is an idea that has sprung from a section of the local community that is still seeking broader support through council.”

Rosebud West resident and trader Steve Dale of Extreme Watersport has set up a Facebook page to promote the town and keep the name. “There may be disadvantage in our town but where else can you find affordable housing so close to a fantastic beach with all essential services close by?” he asked.

“Sure, there is still stuff to be done to improve the town but changing the name won’t improve our problems.”

Shire councillor Antonella Celi said she wanted to see overwhelming community support for a change before she backed it. “Three levels of government and many residents have been working hard to improve Rosebud West for many years and the name was never seen as an issue,” she said.

She queried how well the name change group was connected to leaders and doers in the community.

Cr Celi said the Rosebud West Community Renewal Project that ran from 2007 to 2013 had revitalised the area. Projects included creation of Seawinds Hub, a $3 million renovation of an old sports centre. It opened in May 2012 and is an integrated facility offering services and support for community members at all ages and stages of life.

Cr Celi said Rosebud West was named in the 2007 report Dropping Off The Edge as one of 40 places in Victoria suffering severe disadvantage. “The town was in Band 1 in 2007 but has been improved and is now in Band 2 according to the latest edition of DOTE released recently,” she said.

Other renewal projects included reading programs, playgroups, schemes to help unemployed women and teenagers, speed humps, footpaths, trees, lights, book club, walking group, dog walking group, arts project and Neighbour Day. A slogan was launched in 2011: Life Best in Rosebud West.

Mr Wright conceded changing the name was not the sole solution to improving the town but it would “bring a new identity, a new character; we hope it builds on what was done during the renewal project”.

He said precedents for a change included McCrae once being called Dromana West (in the 1940s) and “at some point Blairgowrie was Sorrento East”.

He said Capel Sound was a large stretch of water in Port Phillip that extended from Rye to Rosebud West with its borders defined by the depth of the water. “Capel Sound first appeared on a chart in 1836 and was most likely drawn from the survey of Port Phillip carried out by survey vessel HMS Rattlesnake.

“It is almost certain the sound was named after Thomas Bladen Capel, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Navy’s Far East squadron. He served in the French Revolution War and the Napoleonic Wars.”

Flipper note: Rattlesnake was commanded by Captain William Hobson in 1837 and it was his schooner Rosebud that was wrecked on the coast in 1851, giving the name to the village that had previously been known as Banksia Point.

First published in the Southern Peninsula News – 4 August 2015


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