Moves are in motion to change the name of the newly opened Withers Road Reserve at North Kellyville to Kiliiyurraa Reserve to acknowledge the area’s First Nations heritage.
Hills Shire Council has sent the renaming proposal to the Geographical Names Board for approval. The proposal will be evaluated by the Geographical Names Board which may involve additional public notices and consultation within the community.
Kiliiyurraa means turpentine tree in the local Dharug language, the Dharug people are traditional custodians of the land across Western Sydney, spanning from the Blue Mountains to Camden and The Hills Shire.
The proposed Kiliiyurraa Reserve has significant vegetation on site with an astounding 44 native species identified. Among the rich tapestry of indigenous flora, the turpentine tree has been recognised as the most prominent and abundant species in the community space, further emphasising the significance of its namesake.
Hills Shire Mayor Dr Peter Gangemi, said the renaming of the reserve reflects Council’s dedication to creating public spaces that resonate with the diverse history of the region.
“My first act as Mayor was to move a motion to deepen our connection with our First Nations people, our elders and with local Aboriginal community groups and organisations.
“One of these initiatives was to name a park in The Hills Shire as a way of further recognising and honouring our Dharug community.
“We believe it’s appropriate to honour the heritage of the land we inhabit, which has been cared for by our First Nations people for thousands of years, and the Kiliiyurraa Reserve proposal is a testament to that commitment.”
This initiative has received significant support from Muru Mittigar, a local indigenous social enterprise group based at Rouse Hill, as well as Dharug elders with strong connections to The Hills Shire.
A spokesperson from Muru Mittigar said: “The use of the Dharug language on Dharug Country is a significant act of cultural preservation and identity for the Dharug people,”.
“It represents a deep connection to their heritage and a commitment to maintaining linguistic diversity.
“This practice not only honours their ancestors but also enriches the Australian cultural fabric, ensuring the Dharug language continues to thrive for future generations.”
The North Kellyville reserve was inaugurated in August 2023 and is now open to the community. The decision to rename it was made by Councillors during the October 24th Council Meeting.
The reserve boasts a lively and interactive playground with a shade shelter, a half basketball court, and a spacious grassy area with picnic furniture and seating. There are also pathways for walking, bike riding and scootering.
For more information, visit Council’s website (www.thehills.nsw.gov.au) and search for ‘Withers Road Reserve renaming’.
* Mura Mittigar (pathway to friends) is a Dharug Aboriginal Social Enterprise at 21 Guntawong Rd, Rouse Hill providing education and employment opportunities. https://www.murumittigar.com.au