Just eight months after Rosebud West was renamed Capel Sound (postcode 3940), a group representing the Rosebud Business Estate wants to hie them back to Rosebud (postcode 3939). The first step was approved at last week’s (9 May) council meeting.

The officers’ report to councillors left little doubt that shire executives are keen to facilitate the request, which emanates from the Rosebud Business Estate Association Inc.

The name change was vigorously and successfully advocated by group Capel Sound 3940 about a year ago, with the losing side claiming that the consultative process was flawed. Forty objections were sent to the state government, to no avail. Most owners-occupiers in the business estate voted against the change.

(Read Submission to the state government at www.capelsound3940.org/2016_05_CapelSound3940%20-%20%20Submission%20Addressing%20Issues%20Raised%20-May2016.pdf for more details.)

Capel - Terry WrightThe campaign gained support from Nepean MP Martin Dixon, who told a local newspaper that renaming Rosebud West to Capel Sound would help create a new identity for the area and differentiate it from next-door Rosebud. (Terry Wright, who led Capel Sound 3940)

The 9 May shire report to councillors recommending moving the estate back into Rosebud listed the streets in now-Capel Sound in which some 90 businesses operate, along with a map (below) showing the area that wants to move. Interestingly, the map shows the business estate road network in green, the same colour applied to Rosebud, rather than in the yellow of Capel Sound.

The report said shire officers had been unable to locate any evidence that the estate had ever in its 50 years been referred to as the Rosebud West estate and, according to the estate’s request to return to Rosebud, they “did not know they were zoned in the Capel Sound/Rosebud West locality … rather they believed they were in Rosebud and had addressed their businesses as Rosebud 3939 for marketing and stationery purposes”.

Bandicoot, who remains utterly neutral in this matter, is astonished that nearly 100 businesses had, for half a century, been unaware of the suburb and postcode in which they operated, and equally flabbergasted that the shire would think this a credible factor in support of the case for renaming.

But, as the report went on to state, the shire is the naming authority, responsible for such matters as localities and features, presumably including creeks, eminences and stretches of water such as Capel Sound. We may look forward, by majority vote of councillors, to Arthurs Seat regaining its Aboriginal name, Wonga, and Stony Creek reverting to the mellifluous Merriwendiwokewoke Creek – if a long enough plank can be found to accommodate the name for signage purposes.

The shire informed councillors in its report that ‘Naming Rules for Places in Victoria’ applied various principles to naming and renaming localities and features, including ‘Recognising the public interest’ and ‘Linking the name to the place’.

Rosebud-1In a shattering revelation, it added: “The [estate’s] submission indicates the change of Rosebud’s locality boundary to include the [estate] will be welcomed by the affected business and property owners and any short-term effects will be outweighed by the long-term benefits”.

Bandicoot might observe that this argument applies both ways and might well be found in the successful case begun a year ago for the name change to Capel Sound.

And why, one could ask (but Bandicoot won’t), should not around 90 businesses be required to accept the change to Capel Sound for the sake of the long-term benefits of which shire officers speak?

What happens now if those disgruntled by finding themselves in Capel Sound rise up and demand that 6 of the 11 shire councillors vote to support a rescission of the recent decision for the rest of the suburb? Will renaming localities and features become a shire plaything, caving in to this and that group dissatisfied by the name of the area in which they live? 

Capel - libertyIt has happened in the city, with Chadstonians coveting nearby Malvern and Gardenvale gazing enviously at Brighton, all for the effect on property prices and insistent latent snobbish impulses.

And what if – in the statutory process now under way, including consulting the community of “affected owners and occupiers of rateable properties within the Rosebud Business Estate” – a popular revolt is stirred up demanding that the entire Capel Sound area be renamed Rosebud West, or dubbed Rye East, or Capel-by-the Swamp, or Tootgarook Beach, with hordes descending, French Revolution style, on the Besgrove St bunker a la Eugène Delacroix, led by a sturdy lass suffering a wardrobe malfunction and carrying a fearsome flintlock and a flag?  (Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’. Delacroix is at left, in top hat.)

Perhaps a council meeting would be required to choose the flag that can be waved aloft during insurrections under the Insurrection Flag Act 1987.

■ The name Capel Sound was applied early in Victoria’s settlement, when it was still part of New South Wales. It was first used on a survey map in 1836, the year Port Phillip Bay was first surveyed.

It now applies to part of the Port Phillip Bay foreshore and a shopping centre. The name celebrates the then Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Navy’s Far East Squadron, Admiral Sir Thomas Bladen Capel, a great friend of Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson.

A ‘sound’ is sheltered water unaffected by currents and ocean swell where craft are reasonably safe at anchor.

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