COUTTS VOTES: Residents cast their ballots in a poll to guage views on a proposal to rename their village at a public meeting in Coronation Hall on Wednesday night.
COUTTS VOTES: Residents cast their ballots in a poll to guage views on a proposal to rename their village at a public meeting in Coronation Hall on Wednesday night. Tim Howard

Coutts residents make their views known in big turnout

COUTTS Crossing residents have voted overwhelmingly against any proposal to change the name of their village.

About 200 residents packed into Coronation Hall last night for a public meeting which concluded with a 183-13 vote against any proposal to rename the town.

The majority of residents were opposed to a proposal to change the name of the village, named after early settler Thomas Coutts, because of his involvement in the poisoning of 23 Indigenous people on his property at Kangaroo Creek in 1847.

The town is name after him because it was the place he crossed the Orara River. The town has been called Coutts Crossing since the 1860s.

Meeting convener Adrian Pryor said the numbers should speak for themselves.

"There is nothing politically binding in this vote," he said. "It's purpose was to give Coutts people a chance to have their say and their views recognised."

The meeting was conducted calmly, with most of the 15 speakers taking two and a half minutes each to state their case.

The meeting granted the final speaker, a Bundjalung woman, Julie Ferguson, extra time to explain how the pain of past wrongs was passed down the generations.

The room stayed silent as she explained how the pain inflicted on her family from the stolen generation re-emerged in each generation.

"It's affected me, it's affected my children and I know it's going to affect their children," she said.

Residents opposed to the proposal to rename said generations of their families had grown up in the village and changing the name would not change the history of the town.



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