A PROPOSAL from the local Wiradyuri elders to have the traditional name for Mount Panorama permanently emblazoned on the hillside presents a real test of our commitment to reconciliation.
For more than 20 years, huge letters spelling out Mount Panorama have been visible across much of the Bathurst region and on all TV coverage of the main events on the Mount.
In more recent years, we’ve seen “Bathurst” temporarily added below the sign during the running of the Bathurst 1000, and even “Bathurst 200” to mark the city’s bicentenary last year. That has sparked a debate over what, if anything, should be added as a permanent addition to the sign.
Some want to the see “Bathurst” added permanently to let the rest of the world know what they’re watching while others adopt the less is more approach and want to see "Mount Panorama” stand alone.
But the proposal to permanently add “Wahluu” has the most merit of all, given the process we went through to have Wahluu recognised as a co-name of the Mount.
The fight for co-naming of the Mount was seen as an important concession that indigenous people have had an association with the landmark long before white Europeans stumbled on this region.
It was particularly important during Bathurst’s bicentenary as a reminder that this region’s history dates back well beyond Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s arrival in 1815 and the co-naming of Wahluu was a vital olive branch in encouraging the local indigenous community to celebrate the bicentenary with the rest of the city.
The path to reconciliation still has a way to go, though.
Adding “Wahluu” beneath the existing Mount Panorama sign would show our region is serious about recognising the original inhabitants and also provide the perfect vehicle to educate the broader community about the co-naming of the Mount.
The appearance of “Wahluu” on TV screens across the world during the running of the Bathurst 1000 would open plenty of discussions.
The co-naming of Mount Panorama has never been about changing the name of Bathurst’s best-known landmark but a genuine co-naming only exists if the broader community is made aware of it.
The addition of “Wahluu” would be a simple gesture carrying a powerful message. How could anyone argue with that?