Harry Bruce's take on a petition to change names of Queensland towns on racial grounds.
Harry Bruce's take on a petition to change names of Queensland towns on racial grounds. Harry Bruce

‘Over my dead body’: Leaders react to Mackay name change

MACKAY community leaders have responded to reports Mackay could be renamed as part of a bid to wipe the state's horrific history of slave trading off the map.

The State Government said it would consider changing the names of places associated with British aristocrats and politicians who were in favour of slavery following calls from Queenslanders.

Places like Mackay, Townsville and Gladstone were named after figures who supported blackbirding and slave trading, which existed in Queensland up until the late 19th Century.

It comes after a 400-person petition was lodged with the parliament requesting the move, starting with Russell Island - named for Lord Russell who voted against slavery abolition.

But Mackay leaders have rejected calls for the city to be renamed.

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Mayor Greg Williamson said Mackay should keep its current name.

Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Heidi Petith
Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson. Picture: Heidi Petith

"This debate contributes nothing to the welfare of South Sea islanders," Cr Williamson said.

"It is just activists who are bent solely on creating division for whatever political reason.

"All (these activists) are trying to do is create division in the community and I don't want any part of it."

Dawson MP George Christensen said the name change would only occur "over my dead body".

"This is political correctness gone mad," he said.

"First we are changing the names of Allen's lollies like chicos and redskins and then Coon Cheese because apparently they're all racist and now the nutters want to change the names of places like Mackay.

"The people pushing this need to wake up and realise none of this nonsense is going to end racism or erase past mistakes.

"The black armband revisionism needs to stop."

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert was contacted for comment.

Dawson MP George Christensen.
Dawson MP George Christensen.

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The Daily Mercury asked its readers what they would rename Mackay, if they had the choice.

Here were the top responses:

1. Yuiberra

2. Sarina North

3. Yuwibara

4. Carbon Central

5. Makky McMac Face

6. Habana

7. Pothole Place