Russell Island is one step closer to being renamed Canaipa, its Aboriginal name.

RUSSELL Island is one step closer to being renamed Canaipa Island, its traditional aboriginal name.

Redland City Council on Wednesday backed the Bay Islands Chamber of Commerce push for the change in a bid to bury the island’s reputation as a place where shady land deals were done.

If approved by the state, the island would be referred to as both titles until the aboriginal name, Canaipa, became commonly accepted.

Southern Bay Islands councillor Mark Edwards won unanimous support to write a letter to the chamber approving the move.

It will now be up to the chamber to lobby the state government to take its bid further.

Cr Edwards warned residents that the name change would take “a very long time” and the majority of requests were refused.

However, he said it would acknowledge the island’s traditional owners, the Quandamooka People, and also help shake the poor public perception of the island, following the land scams of the 1970s.

In May, council put its support for the name change on hold until the traditional land holders were consulted.

Before the council consented to writing the letter of support, it asked the chamber of commerce to meet with members of the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation.

QYAC chief executive officer Cameron Costello said the elders supported the name change and would like to hold an annual traditional ceremony to mark the occasion.

Chamber president Colin McInnes said he would meet with council officers next week to draft a letter to the state government formally requesting the name change.

“More than 90 per cent of people I talk to want the change to get away from the Russell Island stigma because they want their real estate values to have value again,” he said.

The island was called Canaipa until the 1840s when it was changed in recognition of Lord John Russell, the British Secretary of State for the colonies at the time.

The exact meaning of Canaipa is unclear but some suggest it means hardened spear point and refers to where Canaipa Point juts into North Stradbroke Island.


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