Gumbaynggirr elders Uncle Tom Kelly, left, and Aunty Marg Boney at the unveiling of the Aboriginal heritage sign along the Urun
Gumbaynggirr elders Uncle Tom Kelly, left, and Aunty Marg Boney at the unveiling of the Aboriginal heritage sign along the Urun

Urunga Lagoon heritage recognised

By UTE SCHULENBERG

AUNTY Marg Boney was pretty pleased witnessing the unveiling of the Gumbaynggirr heritage sign at Urunga Lagoon on Friday.

The crowd felt huge, crammed as it was along a section of the Urunga Boardwalk.

"I feel real happy to see the culture here on the lagoon," Aunty Marg said.

"And I've enjoyed the process."

Family, friends and students had gathered to celebrate the unveiling of the first sign in the Bellinger Valley wholly dedicated to Gumbaynggirr cultural heritage.

The sign features stories from Urunga elders, Uncle Tom Kelly and Aunty Marg, and both were present to do the honours.

For his part, Uncle Tom said he was glad it was done.

"It's taken a long time," he said.

"I've lived here all my life and can remember when there were only five houses here in Urunga," Uncle Tom, now in his 70s, said.

The two elders have played a vital part in the two-year process of pulling the sign together.

It is the final in a series of six along the boardwalk and the only one referring to indigenous culture in the Bellinger Valley.

John Hamill, of the Urunga Lagoon Care Group, has been a major driving force behind the project.

"We wanted to do a sign on indigenous heritage but we didn't have much information," Mr Hamill said.

"To delve into the history, we needed to track down the right people and then make sure they all agreed with what was displayed.

"It's been a wonderful learning curve for me and the end product is absolutely beautiful, looking straight out to Picketts Hill as it does."

The design and art work was done by Hungry Head artist Kerry Penrose who said she had enjoyed working creatively with the Aboriginal community.

"This sign really stands out," she said.

"It's so bright ... and so important to have a sign about the culture here."

nMore photos will be published in Wednesday's Coffs Coast Advocate.



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