Aboriginal names would mark respect

BAULKHAM Hills MP David Elliott has called on The Hills Council to give Aboriginal names to local parks and reserves in future.

They could start with the new M2 intersection, Mr Elliott said.

It is an idea born from spending his school holidays at Bimbadeen Aboriginal Training College, Cootamundra, where he formed a close relationship with an Aboriginal pastor.

"I will go to my grave saying I think Aboriginal culture is all about the Dreamtime, belonging to the land, respect for the past and stories," Mr Elliott said.

"The best way we can keep that alive is by naming public places after them.

"The flying of the Aboriginal flag is irrelevant and, by definition, divisive, as flags and standards are a European tradition."

Sandra Lee, director of the Darug Tribal Aboriginal Corporation, welcomed his ideas.

She said the corporation would take into account the location of, and animals within, a site when making naming suggestions.

Hills mayor Michelle Byrne said the council would consider Aboriginal names when proposing names of parks and reserves and streets to the NSW Geographical Names Board in future.

‘‘Key concepts taken into account include way finding, geographical location for ease of identification and the location’s history and heritage,’’ she said.

‘‘Like Mr Elliott, I agree that it is important to honour and respect Indigenous Australians, the traditional custodians of our land.

‘‘I also agree that the children of The Hills shire should learn about Aboriginal stories, culture and contributions to society.

‘‘A recent example of using Aboriginal names in The Hills shire is near Rouse Hill Town Centre, where several of the streets have Aboriginal names.’’

Aboriginal people living in The Hills belong to the Darug tribe and many words they use have found their way into the Australian language: dingo, koala, wallaby, wombat, boomerang and billabong.

‘‘Instead of once a year spending the day saying ‘sorry’, let’s acknowledge their special and sacred belonging to and relationship with the land and that this land had a name before the European settlers arrived,’’ Mr Elliott said.

‘‘I’ve always believed you don’t have to be Aboriginal to have a sacred site. You would find everyone has one.

‘‘Mine is Picnic Point, where my father taught me how to fish as a kid.’’

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