The local Aboriginal community marked a momentous occasion on Saturday when a new walk detailing the story of The Gully in Katoomba was officially opened by the NSW Governor, Marie Bashir.
Home to Aboriginal people for many years until their forced eviction in 1957 to build a racetrack, The Gully was was recognised as a Place of Aboriginal Significance in 2002. The Gully Aboriginal Interpretive Walk is the latest turning point in its history and tells the story of The Gully, pre and post-European contact.
“Importantly, The Gully is seen as a place of co-existence of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the past and therefore significant to the ongoing process of reconciliation in the local community,” said Blue Mountains Mayor Daniel Myles.
Blue Mountains City Council was a big part of The Gully’s story, he said.
“Firstly, because of its role in the demise of The Gully community in 1957. Secondly, and thankfully more positively, because of its role in the renewal of The Gully and recognition of The Gully community.”
The NSW Governor acknowledged the significance of The Gully Walk project in symbolising the efforts of the council, the Gully Traditional Owners (GTO) and the broader Aboriginal community to work together in the spirit of reconciliation to manage The Gully in a way that respects and maintains Aboriginal values.
Darug and Gundungurra Aboriginal elders, members of the GTO, State Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage and Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus also attended the official opening at Katoomba Sports and Aquatic Centre.
The Gully Aboriginal Interpretive Walk is part of a broader Reconnecting to Country project, which has been funded by the NSW Environmental Trust, the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, and Blue Mountains City Council.
Since 2009, the Reconnecting to Country project has delivered a range of environmental, cultural, and educational outcomes in the Blue Mountains.
“I think it is fair to say that The Gully Aboriginal Interpretive Walk is the jewel in the crown of the Reconnecting to Country project,” said the mayor.
“The Gully Walk is an inspiring example of resilience and reconciliation. There is no question that this has been a worthy investment from all project partners in both our cultural and environmental heritage as well as being an invaluable investment in community relationships and reconciliation.
“This is an achievement of which everyone can be proud,” he said.
Member for Blue Mountains Roza Sage congratulated those involved in the project, saying The Gully Walk “will play an important role in the education and appreciation of residents, school students and visitors of the Blue Mountains and heralds a wonderful chapter in the ongoing story of The Gully”.
The community is encouraged to visit The Gully Walk (entry from Gates Avenue, Katoomba) to learn its story.