Mount Gambier has officially named six sites including the Blue Lake and Cave Gardens with both their European title and their name in Bunganditj, the language of the Boandik peoples.
Mt Gambier lakes and other sites have officially taken on dual names.
Announced last week, the sites and names were chosen by the council alongside Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation and the Bunganditj Language Reclamation Committee over the past few years.
Locations that have received a dual name include the Umpherston Sinkhole/Balumbul, Cave Garden/Thugi, Blue Lake/Warwar and Browne Lake/Kroweratwari.
Bunganditj Language Coordinator at Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation, Tara Bonney, said she feels a great sense of pride in seeing dual naming occur at these sites.
“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,” Bonney said.
Bonney challenges her community to become ambassadors for the language by having a go at the dual names and adopting them moving forward.
The Dual Naming Policy was adopted by the City of Mount Gambier Council in February 2022 as a key action of its Reconciliation Action Plan.
Boandik Elder Aunty Michelle Jacquelin-Furr said that dual naming is very important to Aboriginal people.
“Colonisation significantly impacted our language as our people were told that we were not permitted to speak or sing Bunganditj,” Aunty Michelle said.
“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.”
Council will implement the new names through all digital and printed media while carrying out a gradual upgrade to signage around the city.
The full list of name changes:
- 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
City of Mount Gambier Mayor Lynette Martin OAM says that language is significant to the identity of our First Peoples.
“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,” Martin said.