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(Australian Associated Press)
The famed Parkes Telescope in NSW has long had a nickname, and now it has a Indigenous name too.
Murriyang, representing the Wiradjuri Skyworld where creator spirit Biyaami lives, was on Monday unveiled as The Dish’s traditional name after a two-year project between local elders and the CSIRO.
“This is something that has been coming for a very long time,” Wiradjuri elder Stan Grant said.
“The naming of the telescopes is one of the biggest things to happen to our people.”
Biyaami, also spelt Baiame, is a prominent creator spirit in Wiradjuri Dreaming who is represented in the night sky by the same constellation of stars that make up Greek hunter Orion.
Two smaller telescopes at the CSIRO’s Parkes Observatory also received Wiradjuri names.
The Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder testing antenna was dubbed Giyalung Miil, meaning “smart eye”, while a decommissioned antenna was named Giyalung Guluman, meaning “smart dish”.
“Science is the search for truth, often we think we are the first to discover it, but much of the knowledge we seek was discovered long before us,” CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said.
“We’re honoured that the Wiradjuri Elders have given traditional names to our telescopes at Parkes, to connect them with the oldest scientific tradition in the world.”
The 64-metre telescope is best known for broadcasting the moon landing in 1969 and the Sam Neill-led film The Dish that immortalised the scientific feat in 2000.
It was added to the national heritage list in August.