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How changing the name of the city of Coonabarabran could in fact be a racist move for one reason

Mayor reveals why changing small country town’s name to ‘Coona’ would make it MORE ‘racist’ instead of less

  • The Coon cheese brand has changed to Cheer because it was shared with a racist slur
  • Coonabarabran is often shortened to ‘Coona’ by the locals
  • Mayor Ambrose Doolan won’t give in to pressure to change the town’s name
  • Mr. Doolan is very proud of the indigenous heritage from which the name is derived
  • Raccoon cheese is named after the industry pioneer who invented the ripening method

The mayor of the town of Coonabarabran in northern New South Wales says those pushing for a change in the town’s name to avoid a ‘racist’ connotation do not realize that adopting a new name is more petty would be then keep the current.

The town’s name, often shortened to ‘Coona’ by locals, had come into the picture after Saputo Dairy Australia changed the name of its famous Coon cheese brand as coon is also an old racial slur to black people.

For the same reason, there were already plans to rename Coon Island near Newcastle.

However, the mayor of Coonabarabran, Ambrose Doolan, said his town’s name was an Aboriginal term and therefore it would in itself be a racist insult if its name were changed.

Mayor Ambrose Doolan (pictured) believes the brand's name change is an overreaction and the public will not be pressured to do the same, as the name comes from an indigenous heritage

Mayor Ambrose Doolan (pictured) believes the brand’s name change is an overreaction and the public will not be pressured to do the same, as the name comes from an indigenous heritage

Mr Doolan told Daily Mail Australia that the name is taken from the Kamilaroi language.

“It has been the name of the Kamilaroi language for a long time,” he said.

The name Coonabarabran comes from the indigenous word for ‘curious person’.

He previously found its meaning in multiple magazines of the 1920s Royal Historical Society.

“That’s what I’ve always known it meant,” said the mayor.

Coonabarabran name taken from the Kamilaroi language and is mentioned in several magazines of the Royal Historical Society (pictured) dating back to the 1920s

Coonabarabran name taken from the Kamilaroi language and is mentioned in several magazines of the Royal Historical Society (pictured) dating back to the 1920s

Coonabarabran name taken from the Kamilaroi language and is mentioned in several magazines of the Royal Historical Society (pictured) dating back to the 1920s

The diaries confirm what Mayor Doolan said. Pictured: Meaning of Coonabarabran from a 1920s diary

The diaries confirm what Mayor Doolan said. Pictured: Meaning of Coonabarabran from a 1920s diary

The diaries confirm what Mayor Doolan said. Pictured: Meaning of Coonabarabran from a 1920s diary

The magazines confirm that the name Coonabarabran has an indigenous heritage.

‘Coonabarabran (Wallerawang-Gwabegar): after the name of a pastoral company. An indigenous word meaning ‘a curious person’, ”it read in a section explaining the meaning of train station in NSW.

As a result, Mayor Doolan has said he will not change the name of the city.

“Once you know the history of the place, there is no more insult,” he said.

'It has been the name for so long, it is no longer indigenous history, but a shared history that everyone is proud of,' said Mayor Ambrose Doolan (photo)

'It has been the name for so long, it is no longer indigenous history, but a shared history that everyone is proud of,' said Mayor Ambrose Doolan (photo)

‘It has been the name for so long, it is no longer indigenous history, but a shared history that everyone is proud of,’ said Mayor Ambrose Doolan (photo)

‘You wouldn’t do that (change the name) because that’s who we are,’ he said.

“It has been the name for so long, it is no longer indigenous history but a shared history that everyone is proud of.”

The popular 86-year-old Coon cheese brand will be Cheer Cheese starting July, Canadian owner Saputo confirmed Tuesday, sparking a divided reaction.

The beloved dairy product got its original name from the American pioneering cheese processor Edward William Coon, who died in 1934.

Mr. Doolan believes the name change is an overreaction and that he will not change the name of the town, Coonabarabran, which is often shortened to ‘Coona’.

Raccoon cheese is now called Cheer (pictured) as the name 'raccoon' is also used as a racial slur

Raccoon cheese is now called Cheer (pictured) as the name 'raccoon' is also used as a racial slur

Raccoon cheese is now called Cheer (pictured) as the name ‘raccoon’ is also used as a racial slur

“It’s another step by canceling culture… an overreaction. It’s all really stupid, ”said Mr. Doolan The Daily Telegraph.

“We will not change the name of our city.”

Aboriginal activists, including academic and former diplomat Dr. Stephen Hagan, have lobbied for the past twenty years to change the cheese brand name, as the word ‘coon’ is a slur against people of color.

The decision to move away from the well-known but controversial brand last year followed the global rise of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The owner last year announced his decision to ‘retire’ the name of Australia’s most beloved cheese due to its historical use as a racist slur.

However, Mr Doolan said he has never received any complaints about the town’s name and is not about to change it as a result of Saputo’s decision.

Mr. Doolan has said that the name Coonabarabran (pictured) has never received any complaints based on race

Mr. Doolan has said that the name Coonabarabran (pictured) has never received any complaints based on race

Mr. Doolan has said that the name Coonabarabran (pictured) has never received any complaints based on race

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