- WA Lands Minister has renamed Mount Misery to Bilbiljim
- Name change comes from the request of the traditional owners
- Renamed to help strengthen the Miriwoong connection to their cultural identity
Mount Misery is a mountain on the uninhabited Hagan Island in the idyllic Lake Argyle.
The mountain range was formally named Mount Misery by surveyor H.F. Johnson in 1885 due to what he referred to as a “miserable six weeks” camping on the hill waiting for a farrier’s leg to heal from injury.
Yesterday, to honour the traditional owners, the Miriwoong people, Lands Minister Ben Wyatt renamed Mount Misery to its original Aboriginal Dreaming name of Bilbiljim (pronounced Bil-bil-jim).
The name means grasshopper dreaming, as the mountain is a site of significance in the Grasshopper Dreaming story, as well as other Dreaming stories in the southern part of Lake Argyle near Lissadell.
The Minister announced the name change at Lake Argyle with a small ceremony with traditional owners.
The name change follows a request from the traditional owners and the Yaworroong Miriuwung Gajerrong Yirrgeb Noong Dawang Aboriginal Corporation (MG Corporation) to the Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley to change the name as it was an unacceptable and inaccurate reflection of the importance of the land to the Miriwoong people.
The Minister said the recognition has been a long time coming and gives the traditional owners the great privilege, honour, and respect they deserve.
“We will continue to work with the Aboriginal communities in Western Australia to ensure that Aboriginal places of significance and historical landmarks are honoured respectively, and they remain connected to country.”
Kimberly MLA Josie Farrer has expressed her delight to seeing Mount Misery renamed to its original Aboriginal name, saying the mount now has a name worthy of its beauty and cultural history.
“Honouring local Aboriginal language through place naming is hugely important for the preservation of the cultural history of our lands.”