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Sites to embrace Yawuru names

Travellers around the globe have heard of Cable Beach, Gantheaume Point and Town Beach but do they know what Walmanyjun, Minyirr and Guwarri are?

They soon may, as beaches, landmarks and attractions across Broome are set to be officially recorded with current names and the Yawuru translations to recognise the significance of the traditional owners and their language to the town.

The Shire of Broome and Nyamba Buru Yawuru are in discussions with the WA Landgate Geographic Names Committee to dual name a range of places, which would also include Catalina’s (Jiljirrgun), Reddell Beach (Jabarragun), Streeter’s Jetty (Jin-Gurramarnin) and the Port (Bidalgabu).

Signs are already in place for a number of beaches in town, with more expected to be installed to reflect the two names.

A similar measure is set to be rolled out as part of the Broome to Cape Leveque Road upgrade, with the dual naming of locations and roads on Dampier Peninsula.

NBY chief executive Peter Yu said acknowledging the Yawuru names also acknowledges the relationship between people, country and language.

“Yawuru names for these places have never changed, so for these names to become available to the wider community is a gift, and acknowledges that we have a shared history,” he said.

“Making Yawuru names for places public might encourage more curiosity in the community, and among visitors, about Yawuru culture and language, and the history of the town of Broome. Shire president Harold Tracey said it was important to recognise the Yawuru language as part of the council’s commitment to reconciliation.

“Language provides an identity that connects people to culture, embodies traditions and passes on knowledge,” he said.

“Yawuru is an endangered language and has been the focus of Nyamba Buru Yawuru cultural maintenance at the Mabu Yawuru Ngan-ga Yawuru Language Centre.”

Shire councillors unanimously voted in support of the measure.

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