Keppel MP Brittany Lauga.
Keppel MP Brittany Lauga. Allan Reinikka ROK100518alauga1

Lauga: Renaming landmarks rights a wrong

IT HAS been a long road, but Keppel MP Brittany Lauga is thrilled her push to rename local landmarks to their Indigenous names has been realised.

"It's really reinforced how important this is to Darumbal people," Mrs Lauga said.

"I spoke to Aunty Sally Vea Vea and she told me she feels at rest with it.

"I know there's a lot of Sorry business that's happened around that business and that now with the renaming back to the traditional Darumbal names, we're taking the right step forward to reconciliation."

The Morning Bulletin broke the "fantastic" news yesterday that Mount Jim Crow and Mount Wheeler would revert to Baga and Gai-ee, something Mrs Lauga has supported since she first walked Gai-ee in 2015.

READ: Darumbal elders' triumph as landmarks renamed

"I heard about the stories of the atrocities that happened there and it made me realise just how these stories have gone untold," she said.

"There must be a lot of sorrow and sadness for Aboriginal people when they visit these places.

"These names were here for thousands of years before the settlements.

"We're actually righting a wrong by putting the traditional names back on the map."

Mrs Lauga praised the "self-determination" of Aunty Sally and Aunty Nicky Hatfield, who teamed up with other Darumbal elders to address the issue.

"After I climbed Gai-ee, I felt like something had to be done," she said.

"I organised a meeting with the Department of Natural Resources and Aunty Sally and Aunty Nicky to talk about the process.

"The Darumbal people took the process from there... it was something they needed to do.

"I was happy to help facilitate but they needed to be the ones to facilitate and I was pleased they submitted the application. I supported their application."

Mrs Lauga said the Darumbal community was heavily involved in the process, and was consulted about the change.

"Everyone in the community got their say," Mrs Lauga said. "And it was great that all Livingstone Shire Councillors around the table supported the change too.

"It was a combined effort that was driven by the Darumbal people.

"It was the right thing to do."

Mrs Lauga said the change was a "huge step towards reconciliation".

"We're not there yet. There's a lot of work to be done," she said.

"But by acknowledging these two landmarks as their traditional land rights and their right and legal names is a great start.

"I think too that the changes might spur other communities in Queensland to perhaps make applications to change to other landmarks."