Wiigulga Sports Complex naming honours site’s Aboriginal history

Woolgoolga’s future sporting facility which will feature Aboriginal design artwork both inside and outside the building has been officially named Wiigulga Sports Complex. Photo: Populous.

 

WOOLGOOLGA’S highly anticipated new $23.1m multipurpose sporting facility will be officially named Wiigulga Sports Complex, in honour of the local area’s Gumbaynggirr heritage and culture.

Wiigulga, pronounced Wee-gill-gah, is the original name for Woolgoolga, and refers to the black apple tree which is found locally and on the sports complex site.

The new name for the complex was unanimously approved by Coffs Harbour City councillors at Council’s recent ordinary meeting on Thursday 11 February.

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Coffs Harbour City Mayor Cr Denise Knight said honouring the Gumbaynggirr heritage and culture of the region had been a key consideration in all of the decorative design work on the future complex.

“This land was extensively used by the Gumbaynggirr people and in particular the Garby clan group,” Cr Knight said.

“It is now being developed into a world-class community facility that is going to be totally inclusive for the local community and all who use it, so finding the right name was very important.

“Confirming the name of the site at the start of the construction phase of the project will ensure the new name is proudly displayed throughout construction and on all permanent signage into the future.”

Extensive consultation on the name was undertaken with a number of key indigenous stakeholders including Council’s Yandaarra Aboriginal Advisory Committee, the Garby Clan Group Coffs Harbour District Local Aboriginal Land Council, the Garlambirla Guuyu Girrwaa Elders Corporation, and Aboriginal community members who have a connection to the site, which was historically an important teaching trail for the community.

All the stakeholders consulted recommended and endorsed the name Wiigulga Sports Complex.

Designs by Gumbaynggirr artist Tulli Stevens from Mullaway have been chosen as the main design theme for the complex.

Tulli won the commission with her work ‘Gawbarri’ which means ‘meet, get together, gather’ after Coffs Harbour City Council and the National Aboriginal Design Agency (NADA) collaborated on an Aboriginal design.

An application will be submitted as soon as possible to the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales to have the site named Wiigulga Sports Complex.

The site, which is located on Solitary Islands Way opposite the Centenary Drive entrance to Woolgoolga High School, will feature playing fields to cater for AFL, cricket, with tournament overlay for touch football as well as multi-use fields, including lighting, amenities and cricket practice nets.

The Northern Beaches Multi-Purpose Centre on the site will include two indoor courts (basketball and netball), a stage, kitchen, multi-purpose rooms, a café and amenities.

Civil works to be undertaken on the site include roadways, shared pathways, car parks and essential services.

Work on the construction of the Wiigulga Sports Complex is expected to begin next month and be completed by late 2022.

The project vision is for Wiigulga Sports Complex to deliver an inclusive, vibrant and healthy community space for locals and visitors to gather, play, compete, practice, learn, perform and celebrate.

The Wiigulga Sports Complex project was made possible through joint funding from the Australian Government, State Government and Coffs Harbour City Council.

Stimulating the local economy through the construction phase and into the future is a key priority of all funding partners.

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