Suburbs of Fishermans Bend

Meg Hill

Port Phillip Council has started pushing for its three Fishermans Bend precincts to be defined as the individual suburbs of Montague, Sandridge and Wirraway.

Cr Marcus Pearl initially moved a motion to distinguish Montague as a standalone suburb on June 6. Discussion between councillors lead to expansion across the three of five Fishermans Bend precincts under Port Phillip Council’s domain.

“My motion put up to start the consultation process. What we ended up doing based on discussion was to expand it out to the three suburbs,” Cr Pearl said.

The council has proposed the names of Montague, Sandridge and Wirraway, but the consultation process will allow the public to propose alternatives.

Cr Pearl said consultation would involve local residents, the traditional owners of the land, the Fishermans Bend Framework and future residents and stakeholders.

“I would expect it to be done within the next 12 months,” he said. “I think it’s really exciting.”

“The City of Port Phillip has never named suburbs before. It’s really important we get these names right so we can start focusing on the future communities.”

But Montague Community Alliance convener Trisha Avery said the community was largely content with the way things are, and definitely didn’t appreciate a “name grab”.

“We haven’t done a formal survey because we’re a volunteer association, but I have asked a number of people their view. The overwhelming feeling is that they don’t want a name change at all,” she said.

“They think it’s a waste of money. There’s more of a push to make places ­– there’s a number of significant laneways with no names in the area.”

“If there was (a change), they would only want Montague – no other name. People here will be furious if the council goes out to the general population of the municipality asking them to come up with a name for this area.”

The Montague Community Alliance would support a change of name to Montague in principle if that’s what was decided, as the name has a strong history in the area.

The Alliance says that largely, it’s just not a priority. On the side of opposition, a significant number of businesses are invested in keeping the South Melbourne brand.

South Port Urban Responsible Renewal (SPURR) took a similar stance on the precinct-to-suburb move.

“I must admit, I think it’s a bit silly,” said SPURR convenor Rowan Groves.

“There are far more important things to focus on when people are still trying to get their heads around where Fishermans Bend actually is. There needs to be planning consultation about where schools will be and who will have access to new open space – if there will be new open space.”

“At the end of the day, they are precincts. Until there’s some move to change post codes or something along those lines I think they’re wasting their time.”

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