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Report on the place name: Moreland

posted on 2022-04-01, 00:00 authored by James LeshJames Lesh
Report on the place name: Moreland



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City of Moreland

Place of publication

Melbourne, Vic.





Research statement

The name “Moreland”, used to designate the municipality, road, and train station, has associational and financial links to eighteenth- and nineteenth- century Caribbean slave plantations. The name was first adopted locally on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country by Scottish settler, doctor, speculator, and firebrand Farquhar McCrae (1806–1850). In October 1839, Farquhar acquired from the Crown, in the area’s first colonial land sales, property between present-day Moonee Ponds Creek and Sydney Road, either side of Moreland Road. Farquhar’s paternal grandfather Alexander McCrae (ca.1744/45–1796) had been the ‘Sugar Lord’ of the Moreland Estate, Vere, Jamaica. According to McCrae family records, at his death, Alexander’s estate may have been valued at £100,000, making him an extraordinarily wealthy man, a fortune generated from his slave plantation, the primary crop of which was sugar. His son William Gordon McCrae (1768–1829) spent his early childhood in Jamaica, and inherited advantage, privilege, and money generated from his family’s colonial assets. The McCrae family noted that the Moreland Estate passed on to the Mitchell family by the nineteenth century. Although not directly receiving inheritance from their grandfather’s estate, the children of William Gordon McCrae were aware of their family history and benefited from their family’s standing in Scottish and Australian society. Farquhar’s decision to call his Australian property “Moreland” accorded to his grandiose dreams for his colonial life in Melbourne, claiming prestige and distinction by invoking his family’s Jamaican colonial heritage. In financial terms, Farquhar’s property investments were, in part, funded by inheritance received following the death of his uncle, John Morison (1766–1838), the father of his wife Agnes. In Edinburgh, John had raised, supported, and educated Farquhar. The Morison family wealth was linked to the Windsor Castle Estate, St David, Jamaica. In Melbourne, Farquhar was noted in colonia

Publication classification

A6 Research report/technical paper

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