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Iconic NSW south coast island gets Indigenous name

Montague Island in NSW is home to hundreds of Australian and New Zealand fur seals.

Montague Island in NSW is home to hundreds of Australian and New Zealand fur seals. Photo: AAP

The iconic Montague Island off the NSW south coast has been given a dual Indigenous name in honour of the cultural significance of the island to the Yuin people.

The process of renaming Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve was initiated by the traditional owners and announced by Environment Minister Penny Sharpe on Tuesday.

“The Aboriginal name will sit alongside the non-Aboriginal name and I look forward to seeing Barunguba Montague Island Nature Reserve become widely and commonly used,” she said.

The island off Narooma is valued as a significant ceremonial area and resource-gathering place.

In addition to its Indigenous cultural values and state-listed lighthouse, the nature reserve is home to several seabird species including the endangered Gould’s petrel.

It also has one of the largest little penguin colonies in NSW and is home to hundreds of Australian and New Zealand fur seals.

The island is internationally recognised for its excellence in protected area management.

Yuin elder Uncle Bunja Smith said the new name would delight all elders and tribespeople.

“From mother mountain Gulaga, came the two sons – Najanuka and Barunguba,” he said.

“We know this because it is in our stories and our songs.

“I pray that the spirit of this sacred place touches the hearts of the wider south coast community and all visitors who may come.”

– AAP

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