The longest part of the Murray-Darling river system, the Darling River flows from the Great Dividing Range, winds through the NSW communities of Bourke, Wilcannia and Medindee and merges with the Murray River on the Victorian border.
The mighty river is now being offered a new title. Proposed by the Barkandji Native Title Group Aboriginal Corporation, the Darling River may take on the dual traditional name, Baaka.
Baaka has been passed down through generations and used extensively by the local Indigenous community. In response to the proposal, the Geographical Names Board has officially requested public comment.
Chair of the Geographical Names Board, Narelle Underwood, said the Board is committed to revitalising Aboriginal place names.
“Dual naming supports recognition and revival of Aboriginal languages,” Ms Underwood said.
“We want to make sure the local community has an opportunity to provide their feedback … The Geographical Names Board will also reach out to relevant Local Aboriginal Land Councils, local government councils and National Parks seeking endorsement of the proposal.”
The Geographical Names Board is encouraging public discussion and is engaging with community through consultation which focuses on the name and spelling.
From mid-2001, the NSW Government has condoned dual naming for geographical features and cultural sites. This excludes towns, roads, localities or reserve or state forests.
Place naming enables communities an avenue to connect with history, preserve traditions and practices, embraces language and promotes a sense of belonging and identity.
Once community has approved the name and spelling, signposts, maps and directories will be updated to feature the dual name.
The Geographical Names Board website has detailed information on the proposal, a portal for public comment and has also listed alternative submission options.
The closing date for submissions is Tuesday 28 January 2020.