Mount Duval, Dumaresq Creek and scores of other mountains, rivers and other natural landmarks across the New England could be given back their traditional Aboriginal names.
Dual naming - giving landmarks with European names a second name reflecting the names of Australia's First Nations people - is an idea whose time had come, according to Armidale's Aboriginal community.
An Armidale think-tank, the New England Visions 2030 Institute, this month developed the beginnings of a plan to develop a dual-naming process for the region.
Thinktank Convener Maria Hitchcock, herself with a Masters in Aboriginal Studies, said Armidale council had first considered the idea as early as 1996.
She said it was much more difficult in the New England because any new name had to get the approval of four groups - the largest being the Anaiwan, but also Gumbaynggirr (including Banbai) and Dhanggati.
She said the four groups should form a reference group to develop basic ground rules for dual naming sites, and then get on with naming the least controversial first.
Founding member of the Anaiwan Language Revival ProgramCallum Clayton-Dixon said Armidale Regional Council had dragged its feet on the issue out of fear of getting among what is perceived to be an argument between Indigenous groups.
"The local Aboriginal community have raised that issue quite a number of times. The onus is on council to improve their approach to it," he said.
He said any dual naming ought to come with "deeper" changes to give Indigenous people better access to their sacred sites.
There are probably thousands in the New England region alone, many on private property, he said. He wants other sites, like Mount Duval, to be put back into the hands of Aboriginal people to care for.
Anaiwan elder Steve Widders said he knew of proposals for dual naming from as far back as 2010, but Armidale had failed even to erect a sign at the road into town acknowledging the traditional Aboriginal owners of the area.
"Who asked the Aboriginal people can they name these places? We shouldn't have dual place naming, we should go back to the original name," he said.
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