Wiradyuri people stand to lose yet another place of cultural significance if a go-kart track is built on top of Mount Panorama – Wahluu, an elder has warned.
The go-kart track was the subject of a discussion forum held at Bathurst Regional Council’s meeting on Wednesday night.
While discussion was meant to be on the amendment to the original development application, approved in 2015, to extend the length of the track, talks immediately fell to the location.
Wiradyuri elder Dinawan Dyirribang gave a passionate speech about the impact a development such as this would have on cultural heritage in Bathurst.
He stressed that it was not a go-kart track that he, or any other members of the Wiradyuri community, objected to, but rather the chosen location.
At the top of the mountain, where the track is planned to be built, was a meeting place for Aboriginal women.
“Ours is the longest living civilisation in the world, but we are not recognised and appreciated for that,” Dinawan said.
“It is starting to get to the point where we have no land, because our land was taken off us right from 1815.
“It’s getting to the point where we can’t go anywhere to conduct our own ceremonies in private. Wahluu is our main ceremonial place in this area.”
He said that if the mountain kept getting built on, there would be “no cultural heritage of that place remembering us”.
“I understand you going on about the race track, having the vision back in 1938, and look what it’s done,” he said. “But a lot of it has been at the expense of our culture, too.”
Dinawan said the Wiradyuri community did not agree with council when it said there were no artifacts found at Mount Panorama indicating Aboriginal significance.
“Percy Gresser, in 1928, before they built the road going around there, recorded artifacts on top of that mountain; 2000 of them are in the Australian Museum in Sydney,” he said.
“The stone cottage up there is built out of the ceremonial grounds that were there and the pathways, so for people to say there were no artifacts up there – which is coming from this council – it’s all lies.
“That place has been our cultural significant site since time began.”
He said the location of the second track remained a better place for the go-kart track and it would still allow people to say the its home was at Mount Panorama, without sacrificing even more cultural significance.
Councillors were urged to think carefully before making a decision, as they were “deciding the future of Aboriginal heritage in this town”.