Clarence Valley’s councillors decided not to name the field alongside Yamba Oval at last week’s council meeting.
The vote was split: councillors Williamson, Hughes and Simmons were in favour and councillors Baker, Toms, Kingsley and McKenna (councillors Lysaught and Howe were absent) voted against renaming the ‘Yamba Rugby Field No 2’ the ‘Kane Douglas Rugby Field’ – however, no debate took place.
Councillor Sue Hughes gained unanimous support at the April council meeting to “publicly exhibit and consult with Yaegl native title claimants, the Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council, Crown Lands NSW and users, on a proposal to name the Yamba Rugby Field No 2 the Kane Douglas Rugby Field”.
“It is fitting that Council consider this request as an acknowledgement of Kane’s achievements with his career in Rugby Union, both representing the Clarence Valley in a regional context and representing Australia at the highest level possible,” Cr Hughes wrote in her Notice of Motion to the April meeting.
Seven submissions were received on the matter: two against, four in favour and one that pointed out alleged errors in Cr Hughes’ notice of motion.
The NSW Department of Primary Industries, Lands opposed the idea, in principle, because “it does not favour the assigning of names of persons living to structures and features” in concurrence with the Geographical Names Board of NSW’s policy, which recommends that “names of persons should normally only be given posthumously” to sports fields and the like.
The council, however, did vary its policy when the athletics track at Barnier Park was named the Terry West Athletics Field in 2014.
Meanwhile, NTSCORP (the Native Title Service Provider for Aboriginal Traditional Owners in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory) supported the field’s renaming.
At a meeting held on June 15, 2016, the “directors were unanimously supportive of the proposed name ‘Kane Douglas Rugby Field’,” the report to council states.
“The Directors noted the significant contribution Kane Douglas and his family have made on the Yaegl Community.
“The Yaegl Traditional Owners are however, also interested in having the opportunity to rename other reserves or parks with significant Yaegl names.”
The council’s policy regarding the naming of parks and reserves recommends using: Aboriginal names of significance to the area, subject to the prior approval of the relevant local Aboriginal Land Council and Council’s Aboriginal Liaison Committee; Native flora and fauna, generally using the common name and excluding lengthy or complex scientific names; Names of, prominent citizens or identities, excluding living persons; War casualty lists; and, in the case of Yamba; Names of early river pilots and historical river boats.