The first ever signs to reflect the Aboriginal Nation that motorists are driving through have been unveiled in Darkinjung Country.
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said a pilot program connecting road users to Country is being rolled out across the State, with Darkinjung Country on the Central Coast and Yaegl Country in Northern NSW chosen to receive the first sets of signs.
“Many transport routes in NSW follow traditional Aboriginal Songlines, trade routes and ceremonial paths in Country, followed by Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years,” Mr Toole said.
“These include roads, rail lines and water crossings around the State, so it’s a step forward to recognise the lands these routes cross by incorporating the new Acknowledgement of Country signs at important locations.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal Adam Crouch said the six signs being unveiled feature an artwork that reflects the Darkinjung cultural landscape.
“Installing these signs showcases and promotes the deep connection Darkinjung people have with Country and helps develop awareness in our community,” Mr Crouch said.
“Transport for NSW has worked closely with the Darkinjung community to develop the signage and choose locations for the signs at Bushells Ridge, Catherine Hill Bay, Cheero Point, Doyalson, Empire Bay and Ourimbah.”
The Board of Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council welcomed the decision to install new signage.
“This public acknowledgement reinforces the unique and intrinsic connection the Darkinjung people have to Country here on the Central Coast,” a Board spokesperson said.
“Darkinjung Country is land and waters that are central to our identity, wellbeing, Culture and Heritage and it is gratifying to have our sacred connection to Country recognised in this manner.
“While this acknowledgment has been a long time coming we welcome it coming in the year 2020, in which our communities’ NAIDOC theme was ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’.”
Transport for NSW is continuing to develop this pilot program and will work closely with other Aboriginal Nations to roll out similar signs across the State.