Bullan Mura – Women’s Pathway

Yam Daisy
Yam daisy — Artist: Karen Denny

‘Bullan Mura’ is a significant place in the Ngunawal story of country. It is part of a traditional Aboriginal pathway connecting Black Mountain to the area of Capital Hill and Stirling Park. Capital Hill was a major Aboriginal meeting and ceremonial place with pathways converging there from Black Mountain, Tuggeranong, Pialligo and Gungahlin.

This area of Bullan Mura was a meeting and camping ground for Aboriginal people. There are scar trees, stone artefacts and stone arrangements. The creek line adjacent to Capital Hill was a special place for Aboriginal women for whom it was a birthing place. There are parts of Bullan Mura and Gurubung Dhaura (the western side of Stirling Park) that are mens’ or womens’ culture areas.

Ngunawal people have a strong connection to this area. Bullan Mura is a place that was abundant in natural resources such as trees, berries and native bush tucker. The late Ngunawal Elder, Don Bell would collect water and the leaves of the NGUNI tree to make tea. This knowledge is kept and passed down even today. Stories are told of the beautiful trees, the nature of this place and the peaceful spiritual connection it provides. Even today Ngunawal people get the urge to return to this significant place even though it has been damaged by other cultural impacts. Spiritually our culture is always drawing us back to a place of Peace and Tranquility to reconnect with the Dream Time.

The creeks and swampy areas at Bullan Mura and nearby were also significant in the lives of people living in workers’ camps and settlements of the Westlake area during the 1920s to 1950s. The creeks were later filled with soil and rock from the construction of State Circle, so are not generally visible on the surface. What were then known as Kurrajong Hill and Camp Hill became known as Capital Hill. The presence of water tolerant plants indicate water still follows contours on Bullan Mura.

The woodland at Bullan Mura is a threatened ecological community of Yellow box - Red gum grassy woodland. It has a rich diversity of ground cover plants such as herbs and grasses that flower in spring. One of these herbs is the tiny daisy, the Button wrinklewort (Rutidosis leptorhynchoides), which is threatened with extinction. Another is the Yam daisy (Microseris lanceolata) which was a food for Aboriginal people across south-eastern Australia. Ngunawal Elders Don Bell and his wife Ruth Bell worked tirelessly to ensure the combination of the remaining fragments of this ecological community and the Aboriginal cultural landscape are recognised for their conservation values and as a teaching place about the spiritual connection that Aboriginal people continue to have with the land.

ACT Heritage    Molonglo Conservation Group