Last night Brunswick Heads boat builder Phil Walters hosted a College of Marine Studies education night at the Brunswick Hotel. At the event, local artist and my good friend Russell Green officially presented his painting of Brunswick's own humpback whale, Yolanda, to Kim Rosen from the Brunswick Heads Chamber of Commerce (pictured below).
Yolanda was officially adopted by the Brunswick Heads community and the College of Marine Studies (COMS) at the National Whale Day celebrations in Byron Bay on 14 June, but the COMS education night was a perfect opportunity for Yolanda's portrait to be officially donated to the local community.
The info session also included presentations by the NSW Department of State and Regional Development (DSRD), which has funded the development of a feasibility study and business plan for COMS, and the Department of Education and Training, which is keen to see a local training institute for students in the Northern Rivers. Until COMS is up and running (and a lot more water has yet to flow under the bridge before it is), the closest TAFE training institution in New South Wales for marine studies is in Newcastle!! Consequently the NSW Department of Education has done a deal with Queensland TAFE to provide the training a little closer to home. But I digress...
At the event a local historian, Frank Mills, showed photographs of the Brunswick Heads region from the 19th and 20th centuries, a revealing insight into local landmarks (some of which have since been lost to the ocean). He also introduced a number of the local Indigenous names for these landmarks and made a fair attempt at explaining their origins. In many places in the Brunswick Valley region, local Arakwal names happily co-exist alongside their blander European pseudonymns, although not frequently enough IMHO. I am trying to learn the Arakwal names and their meanings - not least for my own street name, Binya.
For this reason, I was fascinated to discover almost by accident on the weekend that the iPhone version of Google Maps has labelled our local river 'Midjimbil Creek'. The main part of what many of us know merely as the Brunswick River is the Midjimbil, while smaller tributries are labelled Simpsons Creek (to the south) and Marshalls Creek (to the north).
Incredibly though, Google Maps has yet to include the new Pacific Motorway (and Brunswick Valley Way, the old highway renamed) on its maps - it only opened 18 months ago after all!! I hope they get around to the update before COMS opens its doors for business, or some students may get very lost.