• Wetlands at Sydney Park, St Peters, Sydney. (City of Sydney)Source: City of Sydney
It's a spiritual thing, says academic who helped choose Aboriginal names for wetlands in Australia's most populous city.
25 Apr 2016 - 6:43 PM  UPDATED 26 Apr 2016 - 12:29 PM

"Giving names that are meaningful actually brings that spirit to those places in the way that naming always has [for Aboriginal people]," says Professor Jakelin Troy, Ngarigu academic from the University of Sydney.

"The place is being curated, cared for and loved in the way it always has been."

Professor Troy worked with the City of Sydney and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council to decide on names in the Gadigal language for four wetlands in Sydney Park.

The Gadigal people are the traditional custodians of the region that the wetlands sit.

The wetlands' new names

Wirrambi (bat) Wetland: to reflect the newly created habitat for microbats at the park.

Guwali (cormorant) Wetland: to recognise the water habitat island in the wetlands that’s attracting cormorants and other wetland birds to the park.

Bunmarra, or lizard, Wetland: to refer to the growing blue-tongue lizard population in the park.

Gilbanung, or grasshopper) Wetland: to acknowledge the prevalence of insects in the park that sing from dusk.

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About three hundred kilometres from Broken Hill lies the key to unlocking Australia's Indigenous past.

Ms Troy says choosing names that describe the particular features of the wetlands is a "wonderful moment" for the wider Sydney population.

"It's a moment in which the Aboriginal people are claiming their space, and everyone can be a part of that."

Lord Mayor Clover Moore says she hopes the new names for the wetlands will boost awareness about the history of the region.

"This is a way to honour and promote awareness of the world's oldest living culture, and help reawaken Aboriginal-language use in a way that becomes a concrete part of everyday life,” Clover Moore said.

'Dalgal Way': Sydney street named in language of Gadigal and Wangal people

A street in Rozelle Bay-Blackwattle Bay area, Sydney, was named Dalgal Way in April to recognise the area as a trading site for local Gadigal and Wangal people.

Dalgal means 'mussel' in the language of the Gadigal and Wangal people, which was an important source of food for the region before Europeans arrived.

"Naming streets and parks in local Aboriginal language helps reawaken its use in a way that will become a part of our everyday lives," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

"Choosing a name that reflects the former mangrove and swamp area’s importance to the local Gadigal and Wangal people as a rich source of fish and shellfish will build greater knowledge and awareness of the Aboriginal culture of this area.”"