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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Byron Bay sites receive new Aboriginal names

Two well-known locations in the Byron Bay area now have Aboriginal dual names, following requests from local communities and in a nod to the cultural significance of these sites, the NSW Government has revealed.

Since June 2001, the NSW Government has supported a dual naming policy for geographical features and cultural sites, with 45 geographical features having been dual named so far. The Government says the policy aims to recognise traditional Aboriginal place names alongside existing European names.

“Where a geographical feature has a non-Aboriginal name, a traditional Aboriginal name can be assigned. The name will hold equal status to the non-Aboriginal name and can be used individually or combined,” the Government said in a statement.

The NSW Geographical Names Board has approved the submission from the National Parks and Wildlife Service to officially dual-name Cape Byron as Walgun and Julian Rocks as Nguthungulli, while a reserve in the suburb of Bangalow has been named Piccabeen Park.

“Nguthungulli/Julian Rocks is a significant and sacred Aboriginal site associated with several dreaming stories of the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) people and other Bundjalung people. Nguthungulli, said to be the Father of the World, is the traditional name used by the Arakwal people.

Walgun/Cape Byron maintains significance to the Arakwal and other Bundjalung people, with the area being used for important gatherings and ceremonial practices.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said tThe Arakwal and other Bundjalung people had unbroken connections to the renamed sites “through story, kinship and language since the first sunrise”.

“It is only right to honour that history and that connection through names that bring Story and Language to life for all Australians to enjoy,” he said.

Cape Byron is known by the local Aboriginal community as Walgun, which means ‘shoulder’ in the Bundjalung Language.

“The dual naming of Nguthungulli/Julian Rocks and Walgun/Cape Byron acknowledges the traditional custodians and their special connection to these culturally, spiritually and historically significant sites,” said Minister for Heritage and the Environment, Penny Sharpe.

“I want to thank the Traditional Owners who have worked to have these places dual named and I look forward to them being used so we can tell more of the stories of the these important areas.”

The dual names are supported by the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation and the Cape Byron Trust.

The GNB and Byron Shire Council have also worked together to formally name a reserve in the suburb of Bangalow as Piccabeen Park, which is located at 27 Deacon Street, Bangalow.

Piccabeen is a Bundjalung word used to describe the Bangalow Palm and/or baskets made from its palm frond. The reserve is home to many Bangalow Palms. The name is supported by the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation.

“Place naming gives communities the opportunity to unlock past stories, preserve traditions, reawaken language and provide a sense of belonging and identity,” said Minister for Customer Service and Digital Government, Jihad Dib.

“The NSW Government is committed to the preservation and promotion of Aboriginal languages and acknowledging Aboriginal culture through place naming in NSW.”

“All Australians share a relationship to the land and the names we give to places convey their significance, sense of history and identity.

“Dual-naming acknowledges the significance of Aboriginal culture and represents a meaningful step towards the process of unity in NSW.”

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