PENDING approval, the new boardwalk and exercise track opened at Browns Creek on Thursday (December 2) could be named in memory of a Taree boat building family.
Bill Dennis, from the Friends of Browns Creek, hopes to name the boardwalk the William Oscar Ryan and Sons Memorial Walk. William Ryan founded Ryan's Shipyard, a business that was based near the entrance of Browns Creek last century.
It was revealed that there could also be a Biripi name for the creek and this will also be acknowledged when proven.
The boardwalk connects the north western side of the park and Railway Street and traverses the western bank of Browns Creek.
Mr Dennis, Uncle Russell Saunders and mayor David West performed the opening at Muscio Park. A vine was cut, instead of a ribbon, to mark the opening. Myall Lakes MP, Stephen Bromhead, was a late withdrawal due to illness.
MidCoast Council general manager Adrian Panuccio along with representatives from council, the Friends of Browns Creek and the general community attended the opening.
RELATED: Work starts on walkway
It was one of Cr West's last official duties before the Saturday December 4 local government election.
"We all want to embrace and love this land,'' Uncle Russell said.
"What you've done here with this, you're recognising the traditional owners of this land. That's very important to me as an indigenous person.
"This is another stepping stone in our journey of coming together.''
Uncle Russell said when Bill Dennis gets an idea 'he goes for it'.
"He spoke to me many years about this. I said 'Browns Creek - that creek' I thought of what went into the creek from the sewerage works and I sort of related it as a creek of well, that.''
Uncle Russell said the area around Browns Creek hill is significant to the Biripi people.
"This was the last part of our journey from Burrell Creek. They settled in this area. This was all ti-tree and scrub. This was where the last group of our people were living in the bush.
"That was until they were told that they couldn't live here anymore.
"Sadly, the last place we were told to go was Coocumbac Island. Imagine what that would have done to my people if we're all tried to live there? My people said 'no, we're not that silly' and they went out towards what is known today as Purfleet. We started settling out there.
"That's where the government put the mission policy on us.
"It's been a journey. But thank God we can tell our stories now and we do so in the schools.
"And Bill, I really appreciate your efforts brother.''
Mr Dennis revealed that Uncle Russell has started to carve rock in the images of eels, fish and crabs.
"All things that inhabit the creek. The work that he's done is absolutely brilliant. They will be located along the boardwalk,'' he explained.
The boardwalk was financed by a $50,000 grant from the State government.
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