Spelling of Kiama's Thunda Track 'insulting'

Kiama councillor Warren Steel overlooking Bombo quarry on the newly named Thunda Track. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

Kiama councillor Warren Steel overlooking Bombo quarry on the newly named Thunda Track. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

A decision on whether to give Kiama's Thunda Track a mascot has been deferred by Kiama councillors pending further consultation with the Aboriginal community over the name "Thunda".

Last month veteran Kiama councillor Warren Steel convinced his fellow councillors to name the walking trail through the old Bombo quarry "Thunda Track", as Bombo was an Aboriginal word for Thunder.

The proposed mascot design.

The proposed mascot design.

On Tuesday night, Kiama councillors were asked to determine if a "mascot" image proposed by Cr Steel should be used in signage and marketing the track.

However, in a public access presentation, Kiama man Paul Beaupark, an indigenous Australian, told the council that the name "Thunda" was insulting and should be changed.

"As an indigenous Australian I find the current spelling is insulting ... it insinuates that is how an Aboriginal person speaks and how an uneducated Aboriginal person would spell thunder," Mr Beaupark said.

He said a name such as Thunda could "incite racism" and the name should have been referred to the Geographical Names Board, which had a committee that investigates indigenous names.

Mr Beaupark suggested the name should be either Thunder spelt correctly, or Muru Bombo, with Muru being the Dhawaral word for track or pathway.

Cr Neil Reilly said the council had made an error in not seeking further advice.

He successfully moved that before the council identified a mascot, the name be referred to the council's Aboriginal liaison officer.

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