• The view showing Gulaga mountain near Bega where NSW is currently considering dual naming for the sites. (Supplied: Graham Moore)Source: Supplied: Graham Moore
Yuin man Graham Moore is welcoming a proposal to restore the traditional names for spiritual mountains on the New South Wales South Coast.
By
Sarah Collard

Source:
NITV News
18 Jun 2021 - 9:56 PM  UPDATED 18 Jun 2021 - 9:56 PM

The Geographical Names Board is seeking community feedback on proposals by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to dual name four sacred places in the areas surrounding Bega.

The NPWS has proposed to add the traditional names for Mount Dromedary as Gulaga, Little Dromedary Mountain as Najanuka, Mumbulla Mountain as Biamanga and Montague Island as Barunguba.

For the Yuin, Gulaga is seen as a mother-figure providing basis for identity; Najanuka is Gulaga's youngest child; Baranguba is Gulaga's eldest child who travelled across the ocean while Biamanga is a respected Elder and a place of ceremony.

For Gurrungutti, Nunji Gurrungutti man from Yuin Country, Graham Moore, these imposing and sacred mountains hold special significance.

"It's about our connections, our spirituality and transformation and change and talking about ceremonial areas. Gulaga going from girl to woman and Biamanga growing from boy to man and the responsibilities and the stories attached." Mr Moore said. 

Mr Moore is the former head of the Bega Aboriginal Land Council and a liaison officer with the local shire council. He said an official recognition of First Nations history is critical. 

"Our people know and have always known what the local names of certain places and areas are and the understanding about what they mean." he said.

Colonisation has left a devastating impact not just on people but on lands and their significance, according to Mr Moore. 

"That's historically what has been lost when the English names were been put forward, and how we used those areas spirituality," he said.

"I find a lot of our young people don't understand because of that and the naming of it, but the pride of when we do have our own language and that is incorporated into this is so empowering for our futures." 

Mr Moore said the mountains are integral to his communities' connections to the region and they have long campaigned for recognition for the area. 

"There are just certain areas the most significant place is a starting point. We fought hard and we shouldn't forget the fact that those those elders stood up and fought too." he said.

The Geographic Names Board Chair Narelle Underwood told the Bega District News of the commitment to reviving Aboriginal languages. 

"Through place naming, communities have the opportunity to unlock past stories, preserve traditions, reawaken language and provide a sense of belonging and identity," she said.

"Dual naming supports recognition and revival of Aboriginal languages."

Community consultation closes on July 17. 

 

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