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Sydney’s ‘Gilead’ development scraps hair-raising name

Would you like to live in Gilead? Images: HBO, Twitter

In the hit novel and television series, The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood’s Gilead is a dystopian hell, a place where women are made to be voiceless, forced to have babies, and basically live in a totalitarian nightmare, all while wearing really impractical red garments.

It’s not exactly the sort of place you would want to buy property. But a Lendlease development in south-west Sydney offered the opportunity to live in ‘Gilead’, without the human rights infringements.

The development garnered international attention last year, with some labelling it the “biggest marketing fail of all time”.

Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

And, this week Lendlease officially scrapped the controversial name.

The Gilead community has been renamed Figtree Hill.

“While Gilead is the area’s historic name, our new community is now called Figtree Hill to give it its own unique identity,” a spokesperson told Domain.

Why Gilead to begin with?

Lendlease wasn’t trying to set up a mini fascist state in Sydney’s south.

Rather, the Macarthur region has links to Governor Macquarie, who likened the region to the fecund Gilead of the Bible.

The owner of the Sydney land at the time went on to name the area Gilead.

“Lendlease chose the name as a mark of respect for the site’s history, strengthening its connection and heritage to the surrounding community,” Lendlease NSW/ACT general manager of communities Arthur Ilias told the Sydney Morning Herald last year.

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