Aboriginal Culture in Sydney
The ancestral stories of Aboriginal people form the Dreaming, creating a deep spiritual connection with the land, sea and sky for more than 60,000 years. There are many wonderful ways in Sydney to experience the world’s oldest living culture, including fun and informative Aboriginal-guided tours.
One of the largest public collections of Aboriginal art is in Sydney’s galleries and museums. You can visit rock art and ceremonial sites in national parks, including Australia’s two oldest national parks - the Royal National Park in Sydney’s south and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park in Sydney’s north.
Other cultural experiences that reveal Sydney’s history through Aboriginal eyes include a Sydney Harbour cruise with Tribal Warrior and walkabout tours such as the Rocks Dreaming. You can take part in an ochre ceremony with Kadoo Tours and learn how to throw boomerangs at Muru Mittigar.
In Muru Mittiga’s shop, browse authentic Aboriginal souvenirs such as didgeridoos, boomerangs, jewellery, and native jams and spices. You can buy beautiful Aboriginal arts and crafts at recognised private galleries too, including Boomalli, the Coo-ee Gallery, the Artery and the Kate Owen Gallery.
One of the Sydney Opera House’s iconic sails illuminates with Aboriginal artists’ exquisite works in the Badu Gili exhibition, daily at sunset and 7pm. Another must-see is Bangarra Dance’s exhilarating combination of traditional and modern dance styles exploring the Dreaming and social themes.
The Dreaming is linked to Australia’s wildlife and flora. A delightful way to find out more about this relationship and meet cuddly animals is on the Nura Diya discovery tour in Taronga Zoo. And you’ll learn about traditional bush medicines on the Aboriginal Heritage Tour in the Royal Botanic Garden.
There are cultural festivals to enjoy, such as the annual Yabun Festival on 26 January and the Whale Festival in spring. Blak Markets celebrates Aboriginal dance, song and food quarterly at Barangaroo and La Perouse in the Kamay Botany Bay National Park, where there’s also significant cultural sites.