BCNA Committee View on the Naming of Princes Pier
Dear BCNA Members
At the Executive Committee meeting last Tuesday, it was decided to respond to a Herald Sun journalist’s request for comment on proposals to rename Princes Pier to Alan Whittaker Pier as follows:
Mr Neil Wilson
Further to your request for a view on proposed renaming of Princes Pier, the Executive Committee of Beacon Cove Neighbourhood Association (BCNA) discussed the issue last night at a scheduled meeting. The following points summarise the view of the members of the Committee.
• The Beacon Cove community is a group of approximately 1200 families and fronts on to the Bay around Station Pier and Princes Pier.
• There is a lot of history associated with the Pier over the period it has been called Princes Pier. The three major associations that come to mind are:
o Point of embarkation of troops to recent wars and the
o Point of disembarkation of migrants initially from Europe after the end of WW II and for decades to follow. (Migration)
o Use as part of the working port of Port Melbourne. (Industrial)
• In general the Committee sees that links to history, like naming, should be retained unless there are overwhelming reasons for change. The name of a location is integral to the history. (BCNA has applied this approach when it argued persuasively to the Victorian Electoral Commission at its reform process a couple of years ago not to remove the old Ward name of Sandridge and replace it with Port Ward in the City of Port Phillip).
• Even if a change was to be contemplated the change should not be based on a narrow focus (even if the historical name could be argued as narrow or inappropriate by some). Consideration of the broad context of the historical significance and of all associations of the site would be necessary to select a new name to replace a name that has existed for many decades.
• In summary, the BCNA Committee
o Does not see a compelling argument at this time, nor a public groundswell,to change the name of Princes Pier
o Could support any call for a wider community debate on the subject
o Could agree with provision of a plaque at the Gatehouse on Princes Pier to commemorate an appropriate individual or event
I hope this makes the Committee members’ view clear to you in preparing your article for the Herald Sun.
As we didn’t have time to conduct a survey of members, the Committee decided that it would answer on its own behalf.