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Aboriginal culture in Sydney

Highlights

Experience authentic Aboriginal culture at the First Hand Workshops and Markets at Bare Island, La Perouse.  The island, accessible by footbridge, is transformed into an Aboriginal arts festival on the first Sunday of every month. Learn how to weave a traditional basket, create shell art or make a spear and take carefully crafted Indigenous art home with you from the market.

Must Do

Aboriginal culture in Sydney

Aboriginal Heritage Tour at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

New South Wales is home to Australia's largest Aboriginal population and, in Sydney, you'll find plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in authentic Aboriginal cultural experiences from tours and attractions to performances and events. The world's oldest continuous culture is alive and dynamic in the 21st century; it's also diverse, comprised of regional identities, communities, languages, local stories and customs. The best way to really appreciate Aboriginal culture is by immersing yourself in an authentic experience that's either Aboriginal-owned and-operated or has substantial Aboriginal control and involvement.

In Sydney, a great place to start uncovering this rich living culture is on a Tribal Warrior cruise on Sydney Harbour.  You'll hear stories of the Eora, Cadigal, Guringai, Wangal, Gammeraigal and Wallumedegal people who were the original inhabitants of Sydney's harbour foreshore. Back on land, in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, an Aboriginal guide explains how native plants are used for bush foods and medicine while, on a Rocks Dreaming Tour, you'll join an Aboriginal walkabout tour that uncovers Sydney's fascinating history through Aboriginal eyes. At Taronga Zoo, the Nura Diya Aboriginal Discovery Tour investigates the powerful link between Aboriginal people and Australia's native wildlife including stories of the Dreaming.

Further afield, EcoTreasures takes you to sites of Aboriginal cultural significance in spectacular natural settings – on the city's northern beaches and in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. At each site you'll learn about Aboriginal culture, art, the Dreamtime, bush foods and bush medicine.

Another way to experience Aboriginal culture is by visiting one of Sydney's fine public museums. At the Australian Museum, the Indigenous Australian Gallery traces Aboriginal culture from 40,000 years ago to the present through rare cultural artefacts such as boomerangs, didgeridoos, baskets and ceremonial pieces. The Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour is home to a permanent exhibition, EORA First People; bark paintings, sculptures and artefacts represent the strong connection Aboriginal communities have to the sea. At the Museum of Sydney, exhibits, films and modern technology are used to tell stories of Aboriginal culture.

The inspiring and beautiful work by past and present Aboriginal artists is on show at Yiribana Aboriginal and Torres Strait Art Gallery in the Art Gallery of NSW and is a highlight of any Sydney trip. Another is the chance to see the astonishing performances by Australia's only indigenous dance company, the Bangarra Dance Theatre, based in Sydney.

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