The NSW Government has officially given Montague Island Nature Reserve a dual Aboriginal name, in honour of the cultural significance of the island to the Yuin people.
Above: Left to right: Bruce Toomey, Jo Issaveris, Shannon Fields, Graham Moore, Kane Weeks, Lynette Goodwin, Jacky Puckeridge, Vivian Mason, Roz Fields, Bunja Smith, Dr Michael Holland, Minister Penny Sharpe, Shannon Fields, Anita Mongta
Attending the naming announcement was Member for Bega, Dr Michael Holland who told The Beagle “It has been an honour to have been present at the Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve name change ceremony, which would not have been possible without the long-standing efforts of the traditional owners.”
Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve, off Narooma on the NSW south coast, is valued as a significant ceremonial area and resource gathering place. In addition to its Aboriginal cultural values and state-listed European lighthouse heritage, the nature reserve protects several seabird species including the endangered Gould’s petrel, one of the largest little penguin colonies in NSW, and Australian and New Zealand fur seals. The island is recognised in the international Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Green List of Protected Areas, for its excellence in protected area management. Visitors can experience the island’s wildlife by day trip or staying in historic lighthouse accommodation. The process of renaming Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve was initiated by the Aboriginal traditional owners to recognise the cultural heritage of the site. Yuin Elder Uncle Bunja Smith said of the announcement “From Mother mountain Gulaga, came the two sons. Najanuka and Barunguba. We know this because it is in our stories and our songs. “As an Aboriginal Man and a Yuin Elder, I am filled with emotion to be standing here today with the ministers and our local member, to hear the word "Barunguba" sounded out as it should be! “I know this will delight all our Elders and Tribes people past, present and emerging. “I pray that the spirit of this scared place touches the hearts of the wider south coast community and all visitors who may come. May we always say yes to reconciliation, as it always was and always will be Aboriginal land, Walawanni.” NSW Environment Minister Penny Sharpe added “I am delighted to be in this stunning location to officially announce the dual name of Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve. “The cultural significance of Barunguba has been passed down by ancestors to the traditional Yuin custodians of the Far South Coast and I acknowledge the effort of the traditional owners in leading this name change. “The Aboriginal name will sit alongside the non-Aboriginal name and I look forward to seeing Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve become widely and commonly used.”