CHARLES Sturt University is looking to change its name, with Wiradjuri suggested as an alternative as a “fantastic thing” for reconciliation.
The university began in 1989 with campuses at Albury, Bathurst and Wagga Wagga and was named after an explorer who traversed inland NSW in the 1820s and 1830s.
A CSU spokeswoman said the institution was “working on a refresh for our brand, to ensure we speak clearly and consistently to our students, staff and members of the public”.
“While awareness of CSU in our communities is strong, and we are appreciative of the goodwill our communities hold toward the university, it’s important to evolve our brand to meet the needs of the market and ensure we can continue sustainable growth in our student numbers,” she said.
“As part of this refresh, we are investigating the possibility of altering the name of the university.”
The Bathurst campus of CSU sits at the foot of Mount Panorama, which was formally co-named Wahluu in 2015 in honour of its standing as a sacred landmark for the Wiradjuri people.
The Bathurst campus has also formed close links to the local Wiradjuri community, particularly through the Centre for Law and Justice.
CSU vice-chancellor of students Jenny Roberts told ABC radio the name Sturt University had been suggested but said a final decision would be subject to consultation.
It is expected a new name would be in place for the 30th anniversary of CSU in July.
Wiradjuri man, former NRL player and mental health advocate Joe Williams would like the university to be named after his Aboriginal group whose lands ranges from Bathurst to Albury.
“It would make more sense, because who was Charles Sturt?” he said.
“Let’s not forget those explorers that got to name everything they didn’t explore by themselves.
“Those ‘explorers’ would have died of starvation if Aboriginal people had not helped them get around.
“I think it’s a great idea, I think from a reconciliation point of view it could be a fantastic thing and a massive step forward.”
Albury CSU historian Associate Professor Bruce Pennay saw virtue in Wiradjuri but preferred Sturt.
“That has merit but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Sturt, he was a noble person who did a lot of good for inland NSW and that’s where the places are situated,” he said.