By Ellen Hill – Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism
The whole community will have the opportunity to walk towards reconciliation at the last Festival of Walking event at Mt York at Mt Victoria in the Blue Mountains on Sunday, October 13.
The Commemoration Walk Jummangunda Ngunninga (Gundungurra language meaning “many belonging to here’’) will also be an important element of Blue Mountains Crossings Bicentenary 2013-2015 activities because it will recognise the impact of European settlement on Australia’s first inhabitants and allow indigenous people to proudly share their culture with others “on Country’’.
The annual Blue Mountains Lithgow & Oberon Tourism (BMLOT) Festival of Walking, which carries a bicentenary theme for the next three years, has been held throughout the Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon region between October 5 and 13 and included an extensive program of activities for all fitness levels from foodie, history and quirky walks to multi-day hard core treks through the wilderness.
The festival is a celebration of the beauty of nature, the health and wellbeing benefits of walking, acknowledgement of Aboriginal custodianship and culture, and homage to the history, heritage and conservation of this special region.
Aboriginal people and groups pro-actively involved in the bicentenary have organised the Commemoration Walk Jummangunda Ngunninga event so that in 2013 the nature of what is recognised and commemorated includes Aboriginal participation, an evolution from centenary (1913) and sesquicentenary (1963) events also conducted at Mt York.
Gundungurra Tribal Council, Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association and Uncle Graeme Cooper from Blue Mountains Blue Wave have invited all six Aboriginal language groups across the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area (Darkinjung, Darug, Dharawal, Gundungurra, Wiradjuri and Wonnarua) to attend and take part.
Visitors to the free event will gather at Lutanda Oval, Matlock St, Mt Victoria, from 9am where a shuttle bus will transport them to Mt York by 10am.
At 10.30am a small ceremony will precede a walk from Mt York to Bardens Lookout where, between 11am and 12.30pm, an Aboriginal smoking and healing ceremony will be conducted along with the sharing of cultural performances and stories.
At 12.30pm, the main Commemoration Walk Jummangunda Ngunninga will take place along Mt York Rd from Bardens Lookout to Mt York.
Bush tucker lunch and refreshments will be served at Mt York along with more cultural performances.
From 1.30pm visitors may take a free Aboriginal guided interpretive walk including key sites on the way back to Lutanda Oval (parking) or catch a shuttle bus.
The event has been organised by BMLOT in collaboration with Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association, National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC) and other activity providers with funding support from Destination NSW.
RSVP to the Commemoration Walk Jummangunda Ngunninga to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Go to www.festivalofwalking.com.au for more festival information. Go to www.visitbluemountains.com.au for accommodation information and bookings.