Wamburun gifted to SA5 residential hall

11 October 2018

Wamburun, the Indigenous word for Black Cockatoo, has been gifted to the University's newest residential accommodation hall.

Previously referred to as SA5, the building, located on the corner of Clunies Ross Street and Dickson Road, has temporarily housed the Bruce Hall community ahead of the students' relocation into new Bruce Hall accommodation in February 2019.

Ngunawal Indigenous elder, Wally Bell, said it was with great pride and pleasure that the community gifted Wamburun to ANU for use on the building.

"Because we've already given ANU the use of the word Kambri, they're setting a very strong precedent in relation to these things and we really thank the ANU for that as well," he said.

Wamburun Hall's proximity to Black Mountain, an Indigenous sacred site, also makes Wamburun an appropriate name for the building, Wally said.

Pronounced 'WOOM-brun', the word refers to the native, large Black Cockatoo, a symbol of prosperity and abundance.

"The Black Cockatoo tells us about the abundance of seed supply," Wally said.

"When you see cockatoos you always see them in the trees in these big mobs, feasting on those seeds.

"That's an indication to us that there's an abundance of seed about and we can go and collect it and make our bread as well. So they're helping us.

"They're showing us where all this seed is and this makes us, then, be able to have a food source."

But Wally says the Black Cockatoo is also a symbol of good luck and good future.

"It's letting everybody know that comes here, that there's a chance of the future ahead for them as well."

In thanking Wally and the Indigenous elders, Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Schmidt said Wamburun was a symbolic word and a privilege for ANU to be using it, in the shadow of Black Mountain.

"It's small but hopefully it is an enduring step on the path to reconciliation," he said.

"I hope the students who come here to call it home, like my son did last year, will reflect on the history and the traditions of the land, but also have the protection afforded by your spirits and the land that they're on."