by Peter Ryan
The Batemans Bay Boars didn't sit idle last week when they had a bye in the South Coast Monaro Rugby competition. Instead they travelled to Tilba to climb Mt Gulaga and gain a better knowledge of the culture & traditional significance of the Gulaga National Park.
The walk far exceeded everyone's expectations with the group unanimous in agreeing it a memorable experience. The group were lead by traditional custodians from the local Yuin people and also included representatives from Marymead.
The bus left Hanging Rock a bit after 8.00 and the impact was immediate on our arrival at the car park Tilba - traditional custodians meet the group and provided our group with some laws and customs around the walk and this significant place. Gulga Mountain is a ritual place where important "bunan" (ceremonies) took place to teach younger generations of Yuin about important laws & customs.
The group than set off on the walk up Mt Gulaga that was expected to take up to 2 hours. Some were at a faster pace but it was also understood that we could do it at our own pace in silence - a time to reflect and enjoy the mountain. The walk couldn't be considered easy but doable if you done it at your own pace. Once to the top we were greeted and welcomed in a traditional Yuin ceremony.......what followed was a welcome surprise to everyone involved. The group were lead into the bush to discover special teaching sites that were used , some by men, some by women, others were shared. These special places connect Gulaga, Mumbula & Didthul (Pigeon House) Montains to each other & o places across the broader landscape.
There are 12 sites or Chapters included. The teaching site, or "our High School" provided a breath taking view of Walaga Lake, Merrimans Island & Bermagui. No one seemed to care about time with everyone enjoying the knowledge and traditions that were taught. As we left the cultural sites a glance at our watch and several hours had past. It was now 2.30 and time to take the walk back down the mountain.
"this was an amazing experience by everyone in the group. The learnings about the traditions & culture was enthusiastically embraced by everyone. I would recommend to anyone who gets the chance to complete the walk to do so"