UPDATE: Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council CEO Toni-Lee Scott has responded to public unrest over the Mount Panorama co-naming plan, saying “nothing is going to change”.
Ms Scott said the stone ‘Mount Panorama’ sign (pictured above) would not be altered or replaced, and that the co-naming was aimed at preserving the Aboriginal language.
That hasn’t stopped an online petition from those against “co-naming/renaming” Mount Panorama.
Bathurst City Council will move to gazette the name ‘Wahluu’, to recognise the Aboriginal title from the Wiradjuri people for the city’s iconic Mount Panorama.
Mayor Gary Rush revealed the plans during this week’s Ordinary Council Meeting, in response to an unusual notice of motion tabled by outspoken Councillor Jess Jennings.
Cr Jennings’ motion concerned the Racial Discrimination Act at a Federal Government level, prompting Mayor Rush to reveal Council’s plans to co-name ‘The Mountain’.
“[A] very, very significant thing we are doing as a council is moving ahead with the co-naming of Mount Panorama with its indigenous name, Wahluu,” Mayor Rush said, speaking with Fairfax.
“There’s no more iconic way for this council to lend its support to this inclusive community we all seek. We have a policy to adopt the co-naming of Mount Panorama and I am certain that this council’s position is we do not tolerate racism in any way, shape or form.”
Bathurst’s famous Mount Panorama is known the world over for its large white stone sign embedded into the side of the mountain and its 6.2km ribbon of tarmac.
Originally referred to as “Bald Hills” by the locals, then-Mayor Griffin commissioned the road as a scenic drive offering tourists an inspiring view of Bathurst and its surrounds, which quickly showed potential as a venue for world-class motorsport events.
Beyond ‘recognising’ Mount Panorama as Wahluu under the co-naming arrangement, it is unclear exactly how far Council will go to inform the public of the additional name.
Co-naming plans for The Mountain’s own icons – such as Reid and McPhillamy Parks – are also unclear, although Mayor Rush made no mention of these during this week’s meeting.
Cr Jennings’ motion received mixed responses from other councillors, many of whom believed the Council meeting was an inappropriate platform to debate Federal Government issues.
Mount Panorama/Wahluu may soon be recognised for a second ‘ribbon of tarmac’, as plans for a second and more ‘purpose-built’ race track gain momentum.