Mount Panorama's not the place for a go kart track: Wiradyuri say

TRADITIONAL LAND: Wiradyuri man Dinawan Dyirribang at the rear of McPhillamy Park where a go kart track is proposed. Photo: NADINE MORTON 031717nmkart1
TRADITIONAL LAND: Wiradyuri man Dinawan Dyirribang at the rear of McPhillamy Park where a go kart track is proposed. Photo: NADINE MORTON 031717nmkart1

WIRADYURI community members have pleaded with council to reject a proposed go kart track on top of Mount Panorama.

When the development application to construct of a 950 metre track was approved by Bathurst Regional Council in September 2015, no objections were raised by any community group.

However, when Bathurst Kart Club lodged plans to lengthen the track to accommodate larger and more prestigious events, it came to the attention of the Wiradyuri community.

Wiradyuri man Dinawan Dyirribang is a traditional land owner and knowledge holder and he said Mount Panorama, dual named Wahluu, was a traditional and culturally significant location.

“Council have never spoken to us or listened to our concerns,” he said.

Wahluu has sacred men’s and women’ areas on it, and the Wiradyuri dreaming story of the area is now being taught in schools.

“Council needs to come and talk to us to get our perspective on this and they’ve never spoken to us about it,” Mr Dyirribang said.

He did, however, praise council and the kart club for the idea of the track.

Mr Dyirribang said it would be a fantastic addition to Bathurst’s motorsport facilities, but said the proposed location was not suitable.

“The group of elders and traditional owners are opposed to its location only, not the prospect of Bathurst having a go kart track,” he said.

“They simply want it in an area of lesser cultural significance.”

Council needs to come and talk to us to get our perspective on this and they’ve never spoken to us about it.

Wiradyuri man Dinawan Dyirribang

The location of the proposed kart track is at the rear of McPhillamy Park, in the traditional Wiradyuri women’s area.

Mr Dyirribang said council should already be well aware of how culturally significant Wahluu was: “Every time we do a Welcome to Country we express how significant Wahluu is to us.”

Mr Dyirribang also has concerns that the Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council, of which no members are Wiradyuri land owners, may have not expressed any objections to the go kart track’s proposed location.

Bathurst council general manager David Sherley said: “The modification is now under review and consultants are currently investigating any possible implications associated with Aboriginal cultural heritage.”

“As part of this process, council is engaging with local Aboriginal groups for feedback,” he said.

“Council is working with all parties involved and will collate and consider the feedback received.”

The Bathurst Aboriginal Land Council could not be contacted for this story.