While many Far South Coast locals already refer to them by their Aboriginal names, four mountains linked through story may soon have their traditional names officially recognised.
The Geographical Names Board is seeking community feedback on proposals by NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) to dual name Mount Dromedary as Gulaga, Little Dromedary Mountain as Najanuka, Mumbulla Mountain as Biamanga and Montague Island as Barunguba.
Chair of the Geographical Names Board Narelle Underwood said the board was committed to reawakening Aboriginal place names.
"Through place naming, communities have the opportunity to unlock past stories, preserve traditions, reawaken language and provide a sense of belonging and identity," Ms Underwood said.
"Dual naming supports recognition and revival of Aboriginal languages.
"We want to make sure the local community has an opportunity to provide their feedback on the proposed names."
NPWS has been working with the Biamanga National Park Board of Management and the Gulaga National Park Board of Management in returning the traditional Aboriginal place names to geographic features on the South Coast.
The mountains are spiritually and culturally one; they are all part of one story. Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) and Biamanga (Mumbulla Mountain) are connected through Bunan initiation ceremonies. Along with Barunguba (Montague Island), these islands are part of a ceremonial and cultural pathway on the South Coast.
Mount Dromedary is located in the Gulaga National Park within the Eurobodalla Local Government Area, about 4.5km north-west of Central Tilba.
The proposal seeks to dual name Mount Dromedary as Gulaga (pronounced Gool/a/gar).
Gulaga is a mythological site sacred to the Yuin people. Gulaga is the spiritual mother, place of origin, birthplace and the creator of Yuin peoples. The mountain was a locale of initiations where the headmen would meet. She is the mother of the Yuin peoples, and Gulaga is connected to her two sons Najanuka (Little Dromedary Mountain) and Barunguba (Montague Island).
Little Dromedary Mountain is located about 2km south of Central Tilba within Eurobodalla LGA.
The proposal seeks to dual name Little Dromedary Mountain as Najanuka (pronounced Na/ja/nook/a).
Najanuka is the youngest child of Gulaga and is only permitted to be a short distance away from Gulaga.
Montague Island is located in the Montague Island Nature Reserve within Eurobodalla LGA, 8km south-east of Narooma in the Tasman Sea.
The proposal seeks to dual name Montague Island as Barunguba (pronounced Bar/ran/goo/ba).
Barunguba is the oldest child of Gulaga, who left home and travelled across the ocean.
Mumbulla Mountain is located in Biamanga National Park, within Bega Valley LGA, about 4km east of Brogo Pass.
The proposal seeks to dual name Mumbulla Mountain as Biamanga (pronounced Bi/a/man/ga).
Biamanga is a respected elder who would initiate tribal elders on Mumbulla Mountain and perform other cultural ceremonies at the surrounding sacred sites located on the mountain. Biamanga is sacred to the Yuin peoples. Not only was it the 'dreaming place' of Jack Mumbler (Biamanga), but it also was a place where sacred and secret initiations and ceremonies were held.
Dual naming policy
According to the Geographical Names Board, where a feature has a non-Aboriginal name, an Aboriginal name can be assigned. The name will sit alongside the non-Aboriginal name, each part having equal status.
Once a dual name proposal is assigned, signposts, maps and directories relating to the area will feature both names.
Since June 2001, the NSW government has supported a dual naming policy for geographical features and cultural sites.
Dual naming does not apply to towns, roads, localities or other administrative based areas such as a reserve or state forest.
Assigning a place name under the Geographical Names Act 1966 does not impact other legislation or change rights or responsibilities.
Details of the proposals can be viewed and submissions lodged on the Geographical Names Board's website.
Alternatively, written submissions may be mailed to: The Secretary, Geographical Names Board, 346 Panorama Avenue, Bathurst, NSW 2795.
The closing date for submissions is July 17, 2021.