Two iconic Byron Bay landmarks could have their names changed back to their original Bundjalung names. Here’s what you need to know.


Cape Byron and the rocky outcrop 2.5km off its coast, Julian Rocks, may soon be once again known by their pre-colonial names: ‘Walgun’ and ‘’. The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are engaged in a consultation process with the Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation and the Cape Byron Trust to submit a dual-name proposal for both sites.


View of Nguthungulli

Both areas are of immense cultural significance to the Bundjalung people of Arakwal (Byron Bay). Nguthungulli (Julian Rocks), features in numerous dreamtime stories, and Walgun (Cape Byron) is a traditional gathering site for the Bundjalung people.

Nguthungulli translates as ‘Father of the world’ in a number of Bundjalung Dreamtime stories and Walgun means ‘shoulder’.

It’s a proposed change, but will it actually happen?

While theGeographical Names Board (GNB) is yet to hand down their decision on the name changes of Cape Byron and Julian rocks to ‘Walgun’ and ‘Nguthungulli’, such name changes have precedent in NSW. Since 2001, 45 dual names have been assigned across NSW. Tourism Australia even has a dual-naming approach to its business.

Brent Emmons from Bundjalung of Byron Bay Aboriginal Corporation, is confident in the process saying that dual-naming had  ‘been rolled out across many places, not just here in Australia as well’.



So What Can I Do?

The NSW minister for Aboriginal affairs, David Harris, said the State Government was keen for community feedback. The proposal to change the names back to their original names of Walgun and Nguthungulli, is open for public submissions until the 28th of July 2023. So why don’t you have your say!

Images thanks to Destination NSW