By Molly Taylor
A BOANDIK elder believes the inclusion of Bunganditj language in the name of Mount Gambier’s landmark recreation and convention centre project contributes to the healing process for the First Nations People and is fitting community acknowledgement.
The Margaret Street site will be officially named the Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre after Mount Gambier City Council endorsed the name on Tuesday night.
It follows a public consultation process to name the site, which included Wulanda, Berrin – meaning Mount Gambier in Bunganditj – and Mount Gambier CoRe.
Wulanda, which means to cherish and joy in Bunganditj language, received 44pc of the community vote from a total of 143 submissions.
Bunganditj Language Reclamation Committee member Aunty Michelle Jacquelin-Furr said the decision was an excellent combination of the Bunganditj and English language.
“We felt that it was very empowering for the community as we have a lot of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the area,” Aunty Michelle said.
“In terms of reconciliation, it is important to recognise the long association with country of First Nations People and to acknowledge their place in modern society.
“The inclusion of Bunganditj in the name contributes to the healing process for the First Nations People and acknowledges our place on country, here in Berrin.”
Aunty Michelle said the naming showed respect to Aboriginal people which have lived in the area for thousands of years.
“It is good for all the people that live in this area. It shows we’re all coming together as one, and are thinking along the same lines,” she said.
“The name means to cherish and enjoy and it is fitting as the hub will be a meeting place for people to visit and enjoy and that’s what the Aboriginal people did around the area, we had special areas where we can celebrate, in which had a great deal of meaning for us.
“I am hoping in the modern times, that the building signifies this is a meeting place for all those different nationalities coming together as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Looking forward to the completion and opening of the facility, Aunty Michelle said there was hope further Bunganditj titles would be integrated into the facility.
Council acting chief executive Barbara Cernovskis said as a name had been decided on, council could continue to develop a brand which encouraged people to visit, experience and return to the facility.
“The Wulanda Recreation and Convention Centre will feature state of the art aquatic fitness, sports, cultural, youth, café and creche facilities and council is excited to take another important step towards bringing this project to life for our community,” Ms Cernovskis said.
Works is continuing at the Margaret Street site with project head contractor BADGE Constructions currently working on the structure, including footings.
“A portion of the building will be erected in the coming weeks as the team work on the first floor concrete slab,” council infrastructure general manager Nick Serle said.
“This is an exciting step and quite a visible milestone as we’ll see the spine of the two-story building going up and it will really begin to showcase just how expansive the building will be.”
The installation of the sewer connection line will occur at the end of January 2021 and will require excavation through the Olympic Park car park to the site compound.
Refurbishment of the existing outdoor 50-metre pool has also commenced.