Using the colloquial name ‘Diggers” to describe anything Diggers Rest may soon be a breach of trademark.
A recent trademark application has not been accepted on the basis that it resembles the already registered trademark “Diggers Market”, because both marks contain the word “Diggers” and this may result in confusion among consumers, according to IP Australia.
The trademark “Diggers Market” and the business name “Diggers Rest Market” have been registered for community purpose and form part of a social enterprise model for the Community of Diggers Rest.
Lawyers and Consultants for the applicant have indicated that they will legally challenge the use of the trademark “Diggers Market”, claiming that their client is well known by the associated trademark “Diggers”.
If successful, the application will potentially monopolise the use of the word “Diggers” exclusively within 14 different business categories throughout Australia.
The dictionary word ‘DIGGERS’ is widely used throughout Australia in connection with a diverse mix of applications, including its historical use pertaining to WW1, WW2 and ANZAC veteran soldiers.
Regional cities within Victoria, like Ballarat and Bendigo can demonstrate the usage of the word ‘DIGGERS’ in association with the Victorian Gold Rush days.
The Diggers Rest garden group which is currently known as “Green Diggers” may no longer be able to use that name.
Some clarification has been requested from IP Australia pending an outcome.
Last month was the 8th anniversary of the fire which destroyed the historical Diggers Rest Hotel, one of the few Mount Alexander Road gold rush wayside hotels known to survive.
Unfortunately, due to a series of issues the hotel cannot be re-developed by the current owners and may never be rebuilt without some level of community involvement.
The hotel site is subject to a Heritage Overlay control and under the current zoning of the land, the use of the land for a hotel is prohibited. However, the presence of a Heritage Overlay control on the site would allow Council to consider an application for a rebuild of a hotel, bistro and bottle shop, subject to a permit.
The hotel is listed for sale and the asking price is $1.6m. It is estimated that an additional $1.5m would be required to fully rebuild the hotel in accordance with the expectations of Council, taking into account the conservation of the heritage place.
Some preliminary discussions with the owners and Council have taken place this past week with the idea of fast tracking the prospect of a re-development plan.
At present the hotel is not economically attractive from an investment viewpoint, nor is it physically attractive to locals and visitors to Diggers Rest.
The existence of a blueprint for the hotel would help encourage potential investors, reducing the risk of uncertainty and pave the way to re-developing the site.
Despite all promises by the former Brumby Labor Government to provide additional services to Diggers Rest as part of the $270 million upgrade to the Sunbury line, the toilets and waiting rooms will stay locked.
In response to a recent letter from Melton City Council, the Minister for Transport, Jacinta Allen MP, said “I appreciate your continued concerns that the facilities at Diggers Rest Station remain closed. As you are aware, PTV (Public Transport Victoria) advised that the decision to staff a station is based on passenger numbers. PTV confirmed that there are no plans to open the waiting room and toilets at Diggers Rest station or to staff the station, until passenger numbers increase”.
Anecdotal evidence would indicate that patronage at the station continues to grow with the significant number of commuters using the station and Park-n-Ride facilities.
The facilities currently being offered by PTV do not reflect those of a premier “Park-n-Ride” station and are not in accordance with expectations of residents during the planning phase.
The Minister seems reluctant to provide any further indication to Council with respect to when the waiting room and public toilet facilities will be made available to commuters.
This Saturday eight years ago, a suspicious fire destroyed the historical Diggers Rest Hotel leaving a smouldering emptiness for the township of Diggers Rest.
Although the community remains divided on the future of the hotel, it has become a centre piece for urban exploration. Like a scene from a horror movie, the video by Colin Ewington takes a look beyond its burnt exterior to reveal the internal destruction of that October night in 2008.
Given the length of time that has lapsed since the fire, any existing use right has expired, and under the current zoning of the land, the use of the land for a hotel is prohibited. However, the presence of a Heritage Overlay control on the site would allow Council to consider an application for a rebuild of a Hotel, bistro and bottle shop.
The Heritage Overlay control in the Melton Planning Scheme identifies the site as one where prohibited uses may be permitted (subject to a permit) and provided that any rebuild will not adversely affect the significance of the heritage place and the benefits obtained from the use of the land for a hotel can be applied towards the conservation of the heritage place.