Vote now: Official name for Thewlis Child and Family Centre

Published: 3 June 2024

Voting has opened today for the official name of Thewlis Child and Family Centre (interim name), currently under construction in Pakenham.

Pakenham’s newest Child and Family Centre is due to open its doors to the community in early-2025, and will provide kindergarten, maternal and child health, as well as hireable spaces for other early years programs like playgroup and parenting programs, and for allied health specialists.

Council is asking community members to vote on their preferred name from a shortlist of three indigenous name options:

  • Benup (White Gum): Benup (Ben–Oop) talks to our connection to Country and Culture. We use gum leaves for many things including Traditional Ceremonies like a smoking ceremony, which we still practice in our current day.
  • Boollam Boollam (Butterfly): Boollam Boollam (Bullam Bullam) to Bunurong people this symbolises growth, development, and change. It represents the journey of our community and how we evolve, mirroring how a caterpillar transforms into a butterfly. Just as the butterfly undergoes a transformative process, it serves as a reminder of the constant evolution and growth that occurs within us and our surrounding community.
  • Nearkey Biik (Take care of Country): Nearkey Biik (Near–Key Bik) speaks to caring for Country, Water and our people. This is the foundation that the Indigenous cultural values are built on and taught from birth.

This shortlist of names has been thoughtfully selected by the Cardinia Shire Place Names Advisory Committee, in consultation with the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation.

The facility’s official name will be determined by Council resolution at an ordinary Council meeting in the months following the community consultation.

Community members can cast their votes using the online poll at from Monday 3 June to Sunday 30 June 2024.

Cardinia Shire Mayor Councillor Jack Kowarzik emphasised the importance of recognising and celebrating the traditional lands and languages within Cardinia Shire through place naming.

“Our commitment to considering local indigenous languages as part of the process for naming community facilities is another example of Council’s dedication to honouring the rich cultural heritage of our shire” Mayor Kowarzik said.

“Cardinia Shire is located on the traditional lands of the Bunurong and Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation. Even the name for our municipality, the word ‘Cardinia’, originates from the Indigenous word ‘Kar-din-yarr’, which means ‘look to the rising sun’ or ‘close to the sunrise’.

“In recent years, this practice – of incorporating indigenous language and history into place names – has become more common among Victorian Local Government areas. It demonstrates a growing commitment to reconciliation efforts – promoting cultural awareness and pride, a deeper connection to Country, and respect for indigenous communities.

“This project will be the fourth of our recent child and family centres to take an official name that references the local indigenous languages.”

To stay up-to-date on the construction of this facility, visit

For more information or enquiries about the community consultation for the official naming of the facility, visit or call Council’s Customer Support team on 1300 787 624.

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