A Naarm (Melbourne) council is poised to pick an Indigenous word as its new name, cutting its ties with an 18th century Jamaican slave estate.

Moreland City Council in Naarm’s inner north will consider changing its name to Merri-bek in a special meeting on Sunday after residents picked it as their preferred option.

The name, which means ‘rocky country’, was one of three presented by Wurundjeri elders and was supported by 59 per cent of ratepayers who filled out a survey.

“Many residents shared that they felt most connected to Merri-bek as it linked to the iconic Merri Creek and the rocky country where we live,” Moreland Mayor Mark Riley said in a statement.

Jerrang, meaning ‘leaf of tree’, and Wa-dum-buk, meaning ‘renew’, were the other two name options, garnering 22 and 13 per cent of the vote respectively.

The council last year voted to start consultation with traditional owners and the community on changing its name after discovering it came from land between Moonee Ponds Creek to Sydney Road, that Farquhar McCrae acquired in 1839.

He named the area Moreland after a Jamaican slave plantation his father and grandfather operated from 1770 to 1796, which produced sugar and rum, and traded slaves, with 500 to 700 enslaved people there in any one year.

Uncle Andrew Gardiner, deputy chair of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, said the survey results showed people wanted to change the name “to something that brings people together”.

“The impressive numbers choosing Merri-bek is significant and shows the spread of post codes, that it wasn’t just a cluster who responded,” he said.

If endorsed by the council on Sunday, the new name will be submitted to newly appointed Local Government Minister Melissa Horne for consideration, with final approval at the discretion of Victoria’s Governor Linda Dessau.

  • Story by AAP