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Museums and sites

Highlights

On the shores of Botany Bay, a shell midden provides archaeological evidence of human occupation over thousands of years. Middens are sites where Aboriginal people ate different kinds of shellfish, fish and other animals and several such sites can be found in and around Sydney.

Must Do

Tribal Warrior Sydney Harbour Cruise

Australian Aborigines pass their spiritual teachings, knowledge and skills from generation to generation through art and sacred sites and objects. This means that Aboriginal art is just as likely to be found in a museum as in an art gallery, in a cave or at an archaeological site.

A visit to the Indigenous Australians Exhibition at the Australian Museum is a good starting point for anyone keen to learn more. Through storytelling and artefacts, the exhibition presents the diversity of Aboriginal culture from the Dreaming to the present day.It includes hunting and fishing tools, bags and baskets, body adornments and toys as well as traditional and contemporary paintings, sculptures and craft.

The extraordinary art installation, Edge of the Trees, marks the site of first contact between the British colonisers and the Gadigal people and forms the entrance to the Museum of Sydney. Inside, artefacts, paintings, film and soundscapes evoke contemporary Aboriginal perspectives on Sydney's past.

To see an outstanding collection of beautiful Aboriginal art, head to Yiribana in the Art Gallery of NSW. Yiribana means ‘this way' in the language of the Eora people and acknowledges the location of the gallery on Cadigal land. Here you'll see some of the best works by Aboriginal artists from around Australia; highlights include Fruit Bats by Lin Onus of the Yorta Yorta language group and John Mawurndjul's exquisite bark paintings from Arnhem Land.

One of Sydney's best Aboriginal archaeological sites is at Kamay Botany Bay National Park, a short drive from the city centre. Separated by the marine-rich waters of Botany Bay, the park's northern and southern headlands feature a unique combination of natural and cultural heritage including 30 Aboriginal sites, comprising rock art and engravings. Located on the northern headland, La Perouse Museum documents the 1787–1788 expedition of French explorer the Comte de Lapérouse as well as stories from the local Aboriginal people.

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