MOUNT Panorama might be sacred land for many race fans, but for the Wiradyuri community it means so much more.
As debate rages over whether a go-kart track should be approved for construction on top of the iconic Mount, Wiradyuri elders are urging the council and community to respect that the land is sacred.
They say adding a kart track to Bathurst’s infrastructure would be a huge benefit for the city, but it should not be built on top of the Mount.
For the Wiradyuri people, Mount Panorama is known as Wahluu and it represents part of their Dreaming.
They say it is a place where traditional ceremonies have been held for generations – and still are today.
Traditionally, the McPhillamy Park area is split into two sections – the men’s area and the women’s – and Wiradyuri elders say both are vital to their culture.
Elder Jillean Bower (Gunhimudha) said the kart track’s proposed location was in a traditionally sacred Wiradyuri women’s area.
“It’ll be built on part of the Dreaming story,” she said.
Would they tear down the cathedral on William Street to build a go-kart track?Wiradyuri elder Jillean Bower (Gunhimudha)
Even though the development application to build the track has not been approved, the area has already been fenced off and large holes have recently been dug on the site.
When asked to explain why this women’s area was important for the Wiradyuri community to retain, Ms Bower likened its loss to destroying a Christian church.
“Would they tear down the cathedral on William Street to build a go-kart track?” she said.
“It’s a place where I can have peace. It’s like going into a church and sitting there quietly and having space.”
Ms Bower uses a wheelchair to move around and she said the fence and uneven ground means she can not enter this sacred area.
She said until the area was fenced off, Wiradyuri women were still holding traditional ceremonies there.
“You can’t hold it [ceremonies] somewhere else because that’s where your ancestors are,” she said.
“It’s really important to us because it’s where ceremony is held … it’s a spiritual connection.
“The whole area up here is very important … To destroy it is just a joke.”