ADDRESS TO COUNCIL | Gaanha bula/Mt Canobolas Mountain Bike Project

Uncle Neil Ingram Snr. a Senior Wiradjuri Elder

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today about the Destination Management Plan, regional tourism and Gaanha bula Mt Canobolas.

My name is Uncle Neil Ingram Snr.  I am a proud Senior Wiradjuri Elder, and I have resided in Orange for some 40 years.

I spoke to you recently about dual naming of Gaanha bula/ Mt Canobolas and I thank you for your support for this. The application is now with the Geographical Names Board and will be determined soon.

By supporting dual naming, both OCC and Cabonne Council show that they are taking seriously the heritage value of Gaanha bula/Mt Canobolas.  

This heritage value can only be respected if tourism plans like the DMP reflect the will of the community in preserving the natural and cultural features of the mountain.

I therefore support the changes made to the draft DMP and thank all three councils for delivering a more respectful document.

Tonight, I am here to ask Council to go further and remove from their budget, the $1.5 million dollars that they have set aside for the Mt Bike Track proposal on Gaanha bula/Mt Canobolas.

This proposal does not respect the natural and cultural values of Gaanha bula.

Wiradjuri Elders and Community Members are opposed to the Mountain Bike Track on Gaanha bula/Mt Canobolas in its entirety.

We were not consulted appropriately by Council’s archaeological consultants, and we have already spoken to Council staff and Deputy Mayor highlighting that their report does not reflect the reality from a cultural perspective.

The Mt Canobolas Mountain Bike Project should be stopped now because of the following

  • Gaanha bula is part of our Dreaming Story. It is a Sacred and Spiritual place for the Wiradjuri people in Orange and throughout the Wiradjuri Nation.
  • The project will impact and damage Wiradjuri culture, both intangible (Spiritual) and tangible (Sites and Artefacts)
  • There are sacred places for both men and women.
  • There are Initiation sites for men, birthing places for women and much evidence of this in the form of artefacts, including tools, ceremonial artefacts, and other symbols in the landscapes.
  • There are traditional fauna and flora used for bush medicine and bush tucker.
  • The biodiversity is very important, as there are rare, threatened, and endemic species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

We have occupied these lands for tens of thousands of years, and it is of great significance to the Wiradjuri people.

Looking after the mountain and preserving its Cultural Heritage and Ecology is a responsibility, we must all share.

That responsibility falls to Traditional owners, the Wiradjuri people, Orange and Cabonne Councils, our leaders, and community. We must ensure, that there will be no Mountain Bike Track development, infrastructure or further damaging activities permitted on Gaanha bula/Mt Canobolas.

We must ensure that this Sacred and Spiritual place is protected, preserved, and respected by all.

I will now ask Council to remove the $1.5 million dollars from the budget for the proposed Mountain Bike Track and to put a stop to the proposal immediately.

Mandaang Guwu, Thank you.

Speech to Orange City Council Meeting 20th Sept 2022 by Uncle Neil Ingram Snr. a Senior Wiradjuri Elder.