The City of Mount Gambier, in collaboration with Traditional Owners and cultural leaders, is pleased to announce the successful implementation of dual names for six significant cultural sites. This milestone was achieved after receiving formal approval from the Government of South Australia, and is being celebrated by the community.
In February 2022, Council adopted a Dual Naming Policy that paved the way for Bunganditj language - the language of the Boandik peoples - to feature alongside the place names of six local sites including, Umpherston Sinkhole, the Cave Garden, Leg of Mutton Lake, Browne Lake, the Valley Lake and the Blue Lake.
Implementing dual names for sites of cultural significance was a key action within Council’s inaugural ‘Yerkalalpata’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) adopted in early 2020.
Over the past few years, the City of Mount Gambier has worked alongside Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation and the Bunganditj Language Reclamation Committee to determine the appropriate sites and names for the provision of the new dual names.
Once confirmed, a formal application was submitted to the South Australian Government. The names were considered by the Minister and additional public feedback sought, before being formerly approved this week.
“Language is significant to the identity of our First Peoples, not only in our region but in uniquely defining the many nations and language groups located across Australia,” City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM said.
It has been a significant achievement of many cultural leaders within our community who have worked tirelessly to reclaim the Bunganditj language, and it’s appropriate that these names are given back to prominent local sites to acknowledge the connection and custodianship of these places by our Boandik peoples for tens of thousands of years. City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM
“I’ve been proud to be working alongside our cultural leaders to see this long-term shared goal come to fruition and I think this is a significant moment for our city.”
“The dual naming process will incorporate both the known European place name and the place name in Bunganditj. When referencing the areas both names will be used and displayed on signage throughout the city, for example: Blue Lake/Warwar.”
Boandik Elder Aunty Michelle Jacquelin-Furr says that Dual Naming is very important to Aboriginal People.
“Not unlike many areas around Australia, colonisation significantly impacted our language as our people were told that we were not permitted to speak or sing Bunganditj”, said Aunty Michelle.
“As a result, some words, songs, even lullabies for our children were lost, but together with the support of language experts, we’ve been working steadily for many years to reclaim our language.”
“It’s been a process and we’ve been working at gradually reintroducing Bunganditj, starting initially with our people.”
The names of the six sites are as follows:
UMPHERSTON SINKHOLE / BALUMBUL (Bah-loombool) – Buttercup Flower
CAVE GARDEN / THUGI (Th-oo-gi) – Bull Frogs
LEG OF MUTTON LAKE / YATTON LOO (Yah-ton-loo)
BLUE LAKE / WARWAR (Waa-wore) – Crow Country
BROWNE LAKE / KROWERATWARI (Kroh-weh-rat-wah-ri) - Emus, Their Tracks
VALLEY LAKE / KETLA MALPI (Ket-lah mah-l-pi) – Sacred Talking Tree
Bunganditj Language Coordinator at Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation, Tara Bonney says that she feels a great sense of pride in seeing dual naming occur at these sites.
‘By having dual names introduced to the community in an obvious way such as signage, it reminds both indigenous and non-indigenous people that this is Aboriginal land, and we have a language that has been spoken here for thousands of years’.
‘The challenge that I put forward to our community is to become an ambassador for our language by having a go at the dual names and adopting them in reference to these important places moving forward’, said Tara.
The formal approval of these names results in the legal reference to these sites being updated to include both the European and Bunganditj name immediately.
Council will commence a staged introduction of the new names initially through all digital and printed presentation of the names and a gradual upgrade of signage throughout the city.
More information about dual naming can be found at: www.mountgambier.sa.gov.au/reconciliation
Media contact: City of Mount Gambier Communications Officer Madeleine Brookes at firstname.lastname@example.org or 08 8721 2577.