Julian Rocks, Cape Byron could soon be known by traditional Aboriginal names Nguthungulli, Walgun: ABC News

ABC North Coast By Donna Harper and Bruce MacKenzie

Key points:

  • It’s been proposed that Cape Byron and Julian Rocks also be called by traditional the names “Walgun” and “Nguthungulli”
  • A reserve at Bangalow, informally known as Weir Park or Pool Park, could also be named “Piccabeen”
  • Bundjalung community leader Delta Kay has welcomed the proposals saying it’s a “dream” for local elders

The names of some of Byron Bay’s most famous landmarks in northern New South Wales could soon be changed to traditional Aboriginal names.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has submitted dual-name proposals for Cape Byron and the geographical features of Julian Rocks.

Under the proposals, Cape Byron would also be known as “Walgun” and Julian Rocks would be “Nguthungulli”.

The NPWS has worked with the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation and the Cape Byron Trust to return traditional Aboriginal place names to geographic features in the Byron Bay local government area.

Nguthungulli/Julian Rocks is a significant and sacred Aboriginal site associated with a number of Dreaming stories of the Bundjalung of Byron Bay (Arakwal) people and other Bundjalung people.

Walgun/Cape Byron is also a place of spiritual and cultural significance to the Arakwal and other Bundjalung people, with the area used for important gatherings and ceremonial practices.

An aerial shot of a coastline with a lighthouse on top of the hill

Walgun means shoulder in the Bundjalung language.

Local Bundjalung community leader, Delta Kay welcomed the move which she described as a “dream” for local elders.

“I am thrilled and it has been a long time coming,” Ms Kay said.

“It has been a dream of my family members, who have pushed for Native Title since 2004.”

New name proposal for Bangalow reserve

New South Wales Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said the government was committed to preserving cultural traditions.

“Reawakening Aboriginal place names helps to preserve cultural traditions and provide a sense of belonging for people from all walks of life,” Mr Harris said.

It comes as Byron Shire Council has been approached by a volunteer group for a reserve at Bangalow, informally known as Weir Park or Pool Park, to be given the Aboriginal place name of “Piccabeen”, used by the Bundjalung nation.

Piccabeen describes the Bangalow Palm, as well as baskets made from the Bangalow Palm fronds, and the reserve is home to many Bangalow Palm trees.

Ms Kay hopes all people living in Byron Shire will support the suggested changes.

An Indigenous woman wearing an Aboriginal flag T-shirt smiles for the camera in front of a picnic table of fresh foods.

Delta Kay says Bundjalung people welcome the name change proposals. ABC reporter: Hannah Ross

“To have our language reawakened for these three important locations is being embraced by the Bundjalung people, but I hope all our community embraces it with pride,” she said.

“This is the way we move forward as a nation. It is a sense of belonging for everyone.”

Once a dual name is assigned, signposts, maps and directories relating to the area will feature both names.

Details of the proposal for Piccabeen Park can be viewed and submissions lodged on the Geographical Names Board’s website up until 14 July, 2023.

The dual-naming proposals for Julian Rocks and Cape Byron can be viewed and submissions lodged on the Geographical Names Board’s website up until July 28, 2023.