FNQ lake claims its traditional Indigenous name

A Far North Queensland lake believed to house a malicious spirit is now officially known by its Indigenous name – Koongarra.

Member for Cook Cynthia Liu said the gazettal of the name was a milestone for the area’s traditional owners, the Kuku Djungan people.

“Ngarrabullgan, known as Mount Mulligan range, is a sacred place about 90 kilometres west of Mareeba,” she said.

“The Traditional Owners of Ngarrabullgan, the Kuku Djungan people, believe that the mountain and lake are a sacred and dangerous place, inhabited by the malicious spirit Eekoo and they approach it with caution and rarely camp on its summit.”

Chairperson of the Djungan Peoples body corporate Judulu Neal said Lake Koongarra was a sacred lake within sacred country.

“Lake Koongarra is our own Djungan People’s name for this sacred place,” she said.

“Such formal naming of places on Djungan Country feels like an expression of our original sovereignty to our own Djungan Country.

“Now that this name has been gazetted, I would like to continue adding more of our names for our places onto the Queensland register of place names.”

Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the Kuku Djungan people had requested the lake be named as Lake Koongarra, and received incredible support from the community.

“The traditional name was already recorded on the Queensland Place Names Data Base as an unofficial name, for the Mount Mulligan Range lake was in common use and recognised at a state and national level for its cultural significance,” he said.

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