Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
What we do
The local area's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community is a diverse and vibrant community comprised of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from language and community groups from all over Australia.
The City of Sydney acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land and strives to support its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.
In addition to providing general and specific community services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, we work on projects designed to celebrate Aboriginal culture and history, and to promote reconciliation.
The Eora Journey
The Eora Journey is a visionary project that celebrates the living culture of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Sydney. Eora means 'the people' in the Gadigal language, so the Eora Journey is 'the people's journey'.
The City consulted widely with the community when we developed the Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision and the feedback called for better recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. This led to the Eora Journey, which is made up of 4 key projects:
1. Recognition in the public domain
This involves 7 major public art projects to be developed over the next 10 years. Art curator and writer Hetti Perkins and architect Julie Cracknell were appointed by the City in 2010 to undertake an international review of cultural interpretation to help guide the development of the recognition in the public domain program. Visit the City Art website under Links for more details about recent initiatives such as the Hyde Park Monument to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have served their country and in November 2013 the Place Projections project.
2. A significant event
The City recognises the need for a major annual event that celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. The City currently provides support for the annual Yabun festival, held on 26 January in Victoria Parkand last year we hosted a major event in Hyde Park to celebrate NAIDOC Week. Plans for NAIDOC Week 2013 are underway.
3. An economic development plan
An Eora Journey Economic Development Plan will be developed by the City to set out an agenda for the next 10 years. The aim of the plan is to develop a range of initiatives that will help the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to achieve equity of representation as students, employees and business owners. The plan will also underpin the other 3 aspects of the Eora Journey to ensure the economic development of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are maximised.
4. An Aboriginal Knowledge and Cultural Centre
The development of an Aboriginal Knowledge and Cultural Centre will provide opportunities for employment, tourism and the development of sustainable industry and enterprises. It would also promote cultural understanding among Sydneysiders and visitors.
The Eora Journey builds on existing work undertaken by the City to celebrate our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and community. In June 2011 the City published the free booklet, Barani Barrabugu (Yesterday Tomorrow), a historical walking tour that takes in more than 60 sites around Sydney significant to Aboriginal people. Visit the Sydney Barani website (go to Links) to download a copy.
The award-winning Barani Barrabugu was the result of 2 years of extensive research by the City’s History Unit and Aboriginal historian Steve Miller, under the guidance of the City’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Panel. This information will help the City develop the Eora Journey Walking Trail.
When consulting and working with Aboriginal peoples, the Council and City of Sydney staff are guided by a set of protocols based on respect, trust and a spirit of openness. The protocols express our commitment to working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.
They also outline ways in which the City of Sydney can demonstrate its committment to reconciliation, such as:
- acknowledging the traditional custodians of Sydney
- flying the Aboriginal flag above Sydney Town Hall
- recognising Aboriginal peoples' right to self-determination
- challenging negative stereotypes
- marking significant ceremonies and dates.
You can download the protocols in full below.
Welcome to Country
As a mark of respect to the traditional custodians of Sydney, the City incorporates 'Welcome to Country' and 'Acknowledgement of Country' proceedings for appropriate events, functions and meetings. We encourage other organisations in the local area to do the same and, as we receive many requests, we have put together a guide to organising a Welcome to Country.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Advisory Panel
The City's Advisory Panel informs and shapes our work with Aboriginal communities. Made up of a cross-section of community members, including industry professionals, young people and Elders, it was established to advise our organisation on matters that are important to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Following a strong recommendation from the panel, a full meeting of Council in 2010 voted in favour of using the term 'invasion' to describe European settlement of Sydney. The sentence below was subsequently included in the City's 10-year corporate plan.
"Despite the destructive impact of this invasion, Aboriginal culture endured."
The panel is responsible for reviewing the City's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols, in conjunction with members of the community.
Joining forces with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, the City put together the Principles of Cooperation, a set of guidelines for government departments that provide services to the Aboriginal community. You can download the agreement at the end of this page.
The City is also an active member of the Eastern Region Local Government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Forum. The aim of the forum is to stimulate and advocate a commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Events in the forum’s calendar include the Reconciliation Week Primary Schools Art Competition and the Pauline McLeod Awards for Reconciliation.
Find out more about our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander projects and programs:
Aboriginal Community Development Officer
02 9265 firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: Wednesday, 15 May 2013