Aboriginal cultural attractions
Attractions in the City of Sydney
There is a range of major institutions in the City of Sydney where you can further experience Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and history.
Information about other places of significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the greater Sydney metropolitan area can be found in Melissa Hinkson's book 'Aboriginal Sydney' published by AIATSIS.
Art Gallery of NSW
The Yiribana Gallery in the Art Gallery of New South Wales showcases works from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. Communities around Australia are represented and the diversity of Indigenous culture is celebrated with a range of mediums, from traditional paintings on bark to contemporary sculpture and installation.
Bangarra Dance Theatre
Bangarra Dance Theatre embraces, celebrates and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture. Each year, Bangarra performs its unique blend of contemporary and traditional dance to audiences throughout Australia and around the world.
Belvoir St Theatre
The Belvoir St Theatre regularly stages plays written by or featuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander playwrights and actors.
Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative is one of Australia's longest running Aboriginal owned and operated art galleries, which focuses on art from NSW.
Museum of Contemporary Art
The Museum of Contemporary Art has a dedicated curator for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Programs. The gallery features regular exhibitions by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
Museum of Sydney
Cadigal Place is a gallery dedicated to the original people of the Port Jackson region, on whose land the Museum of Sydney stands. It explores the traditional lives and colonial contact experiences of the Cadigal, while acknowledging the continuing culture of Aboriginal Sydney. The gallery is an important attraction for visitors wishing to learn about the pre- and post-contact Aboriginal experience in Sydney.
Edge of the Trees
"Edge of the Trees" by Fiona Foley and Janet Laurence is a public artwork located on the Museum forecourt where the first Government House once stood. It evokes the natural and cultural histories of the place where Aboriginal people peered from the tree-line at bedraggled convicts coming ashore off the First Fleet.
The installation's 29 pillars represent the clans of the Sydney region and are engraved with the names of people, places and native flora now long gone. Shell, bone and feathers are embedded in the sandstone, wood and metal poles to evoke Indigenous ways of life prior to 1788. Walk through the installtion to hear a soundscape of Aboriginal voices.
The Powerhouse Museum has regular exhibitions featuring objects relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.
The Rocks Discovery Museum
Four permanent exhibitions at the Museum tell the story of the area and the impact of European settlement on the traditional owners, the Gadigal people. Developed with the Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council, the exhibitions explore issues around identity, community and spirituality. The changing natural environment of the area is illustrated by an audio visual presentation which shows how the Sydney basin has transformed over the past 50,000 years from a small river to the harbour we see today.
Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain
The Cadi Jam Ora Garden interprets the relationships of the Gadigal people within Sydney by showcasing plants native to the region, and demonstrating how they were used for food and medicine. There are regular guided tours of the gardens, focusing on Aboriginal culture.
State Library of NSW
The State Library of NSW has the best collection of Australian and Pacific Islands reference material in the world. The Australian Indigenous Service provides assistance to clients, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, to research Indigenous local, cultural or family histories.
Cadi Eora birrung: Under the Sydney Stars is an exhibition explaining how the constellations in the southern sky were created from an Aboriginal perspective.
Sydney Opera House
The Sydney Opera House regularly holds productions and events that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island themes or issues, including the annual Message Sticks Indigenous Film Festival.
University of Sydney
The Macleay Museum has a significant collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material with strong representation from WA, QLD and NSW communities, as well as material from the wider Pacific region. It also houses significant natural history specimens.
The Koori Collection comprises over 1250 fiction and non-fiction items on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and particular subjects such as politics, art, sport, and history. Visitors are encouraged to visit the Waterloo Library and browse through the collection. All material in the Koori Collection can be borrowed and members can search our online catalogue for items of interest.
Art Gallery of NSW Australian Museum Bangarra Belvoir Street Theatre Boomalli Museum of Contemporary Art Museum of Sydney Powerhouse Museum Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain State Library of NSW Sydney Observatory Sydney Opera House The Rocks Discovery Museum
Cultural cruise on the harbour
Cruise on Sydney Harbour and see it through the eyes of the Eora, Gadigal, Guringai, Wangal, Gammeraigal and Wallumedegal people – the traditional owners of the foreshores.
Tribal Warrior tours teach visitors more about the everyday lives, ceremonial places, customs and rituals which defined Aboriginal culture.
The cruise stops at one of the islands in Sydney Harbour National Park and guests are welcomed ashore to experience authentic cultural performances incorporating traditional dance, storytelling, Didjeridu playing and boomerang throwing.
Tribal Warrior cruises depart from Circular Quay.
Sydney Learning Adventures
Tours for student groups
The Tribal Warrior Association and Sydney Learning Adventures team up to offer organised tours to groups.
The tour is led by an Aboriginal guide who has permission from the elders to tell stories about their people, beliefs and society. Tours are available for schools and private groups.
The Rocks Dreaming
Aboriginal heritage tour
The 90 minute leisurely walkabout with an Aboriginal guide journeys into Dreamtime, the culture of Aboriginal peoples.
Barani/Barrabugu (Yesterday/Tomorrow) – Sydney's Aboriginal Journey is a City of Sydney publication that showcases the history and culture of Aboriginal Sydney, from first contact to today's living culture.
It features stories from more than 60 sites across Sydney and describes several walks.
The walking tour also suggests cultural institutions and organisations to visit.
The guide can be downloaded below.
|Barani/Barrabugu (Yesterday/Tomorrow) walking tour||PDF 3.0 MB||Download|
Last updated: Friday, 7 September 2012