Local elders back move to recognise Wahluu

UP ON WAHLUU: Wiradjuri elder Dinawan Gerribang and Aboriginal community elder Kalmadyne Goombrydge at Brock’s Skyline on Mount Panorama. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 072314cmtp1BATHURST Aboriginal elders Dinawan Gerribang and Kalmadyne Goombrydge have thrown their support behind a move to add the Wiradjuri name Wahluu to Mount Panorama.

The Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council has applied to have the name Wahluu formally gazetted by the Geographical Names Board of NSW and Bathurst Regional Council has indicated it would support the move.

Now local Wiradjuri elders have also backed the move, though Dinawan Gerribang told the Western Advocate it was not about taking over the Mount.

Rather, he said, it was about recognising that the Wiradjuri people were here long before the English and had their own names for things.

Kalmadyne Goombrydge added that it was important to recognise history on both sides of the fence.

“If we work together on this we are working towards a stronger foundation for all our children,” he said.

“We don’t need to go backwards, we need to go forwards. There has been too much misunderstanding.”

Dinawan Gerribang feels Wahluu is a good name to place alongside Mount Panorama.

“There is a lot of cultural significance up there,” he said.

However, he added that the Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council is off-base with its interpretation of the meaning of Wahluu.

He said that instead of meaning “sacred place”, Wahluu is the name of a young Wiradjuri man.

Dinawan Gerribang said Wahluu plays a part in a story of three brothers. He was killed by his older brother in a fight over a girl.

“When you look at the Mount today from the air, it looks like a man laying on his side,” he said.

“That story developed into that place becoming a young man’s initiation place.”

He said the location of the former Sir Joseph Banks Nature Reserve is where a lot of young men’s initiations took place.

Dinawan Gerribang said the co-naming of Mount Panorama is something his uncle John Bugg (Wirrari) pushed for back in the early 1980s.

“That idea has been around for a long time,” he said. “I welcome anyone to come to us and talk about it. They can get information from us elders.”

The two men are members of the Bathurst Aboriginal Community Elders Group.

Kalmadyne Goombrydge said the Wiradjurielders in that group deal with the cultural aspects of that area.

“We are not knocking the Land Council for putting that submission in, but they should have spoken to us first,” he said.

“We need to be united on this because of the negative views out there on the whole thing.”

Dinawan Gerribang said he was disappointed to hear people say that Peter Brock would be turning over in his grave to hear there was talk about co-naming Mount Panorama.

He said one of the elders on the South Coast that his family knows had a lot to do with the motor racing legend.

“He was always asking about Aboriginal culture and asked if Mount Panorama had an Aboriginal name,” he said. “Peter told him he’d like to see that used in some way.”

Dinawan Gerribang said the success of Sorry Day in Bathurst shows people in the community are looking for a change.

“Many people have come up to me in the street and said they like the idea of co-naming the Mountain,” he said. “People are hungry for knowledge of the Wiradjuri history.”

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