THE Northern Grampians Shire says it is open to consulting with St Arnaud residents about changing the name of the town.
The shire's mayor Murray Emerson said the council had received one letter about the change, but no petitions or requests from the public.
"If council received an overwhelming number of requests from the community in support of changing the name of St Arnaud, in the interests of community consultation, we would consider the options, cost, and time involved in the consultation and subsequent processes involved in possibly renaming a place," Mr Emerson said.
"Council can undertake this consultation and process on behalf of a community but the final decision rests with the State Government Registrar of Geographic Names."
State Member for Ripon Louise Staley indicated she would not support changing the name of St Arnaud.
THERE is a push in St Arnaud for the town to be renamed.
The central Victorian city was named after French general Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud, who was revered for his leadership in the Crimean War.
But North Central News editor Sue Hynes said he should be condemned after he ordered the mass killing of more than 500 Indigenous people in Algeria.
She said the French general ordered his troops to close caves where Indigenous people were hiding.
"He cemented the entrances shut so no one could escape," Sue said. "He allowed them to suffocate and die.
"He kept troops at the entrances for two weeks to make sure no one would help them."
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Sue said Jacques Leroy de Saint-Arnaud's actions were abhorrent.
"I have heard rumours about Saint-Arnaud over the years from people in the district," she said. "It was always hush-hush and never explained. However, the noise got louder this year.
"We had a few people saying it was time to bring the debate. Saint-Arnaud was not just racist in the sense that he wanted to get rid of the local people - he actually massacred them.
"I think that is a far worse crime than just holding the opinion of superiority."
St Arnaud resident Terence Robertson said it was time to change the town's name.
"The last thing I want is to be in a town that's named after a mass murderer," he said. "That is horrific."
Mr Robertson said he sent a letter to the Northern Grampians Shire, calling for the name to be changed.
He said it was important the shire surveyed residents to see if there was support for a new name.
Sue Hynes, who wrote an editorial about the name change, said public opinion was divided.
"The old locals are very incensed - they are trying to discredit me - whereas those who have been here for 20 or 30 years are tending to be more progressive about opening up the dialogue," she said.
State Member for Ripon Louise Staley said she had received a series of emails from one resident on the issue.
Ms Staley said she would not support changing the name of St Arnaud.
"We all need to learn from history, not erase it," she said.
The Northern Grampians Shire was contacted for comment.
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