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Participants in the City of Sydney’s oral history project to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served their country, with Lord Mayor Clover Moore (Image courtesy Barbara McGrady / City of Sydney)

Military service and Aboriginal voices

Author: Catherine Freyne The City of Sydney’s history team started recording oral histories with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service people in 2008. The project gained new impetus in 2013 with the commissioning of YININMADYEMI Thou Didst Let Fall the memorial artwork Read More

National Aborigines Day image

Aboriginal organisations in Sydney

Author: Anita Heiss The Australian Aborigines Progressive Association (AAPA), led by Fred Maynard, operated in Sydney from 1924 to 1927 when it was disbanded due to police harassment. In 1932 in Victoria, William Cooper, Bill Onus and Ebenezer Lovett formed Read More

Portraits of Biddy Salamander of the Broken Bay Tribe, Bulkabra Chief of Botany, Gooseberry Queen of Bungaree, as depicted by Charles Rodius in 1834 (Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW - SAFE / PXA 615, Digital Order No. a1114010)

Significant Aboriginal people in Sydney

Author: Anita Heiss In December 1788, not long after the landing of the First Fleet, Governor Phillip ordered the capture of Arabanoo (born c1758). Arabanoo was dressed in European clothes, trained in English and called Manly (after his place of Read More

Title_People and Place

Aboriginal people and place

Author: Anita Heiss and Melodie-Jane Gibson The Council of the City of Sydney acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of our land – Australia. The City acknowledges the Gadigal of the Eora Nation as the Read More

NAIDOC Week celebrated in Hyde Park in 2012 (photograph courtesy City of Sydney)

Significant Aboriginal events in Sydney

Author: Anita Heiss January 26 was nominated as Australia Day to celebrate the anniversary of white settlement. It commemorates the ceremonious unfurling of the British flag at the head of Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1788. By the Read More

Title_Imagining the people

Imagining the people

Author: Anita Heiss The ways in which Aboriginal people have been portrayed by non-Aboriginal people reflect Euro-centric values and have been largely negative. Strong representations of Aboriginal people and society have developed over time, often classifying individuals as ‘traditional Aborigines’ Read More

Title_Government Policy

Government policy in relation to Aboriginal people

Author: Anita Heiss Since the European invasion until very recently, government policy relating to Aboriginal people has been designed and implemented by non-Aboriginal people. The common justification for most policies for Aboriginal people was that they were ‘for their own Read More

Aboriginal Medical Service at 36 Turner Street, behind St Vincent’s Church in Redfern, c1989 (City of Sydney Archives - NSCA CRS 1133/3/97)

Aboriginal involvement with the church

Author: Anita Heiss Much of the early interest in Sydney’s Aboriginal people was as a study of ‘primitives’ in need of salvation. Catholic priests, Fathers Therry and Power baptised around 45 Aboriginal people at St Mary’s Cathedral between 1820 and Read More

Title_Working Life

Aboriginal labour in Sydney

Author: Anita Heiss Because mainstream histories of Australia often render Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as invisible or describe them in negative terms, these histories often fail to recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been involved Read More

Title_Arts and Culture

Aboriginal arts and culture in Sydney

Author: Anita Heiss Apart from rock paintings and engravings, there is little evidence of the artistic and cultural activities of Aboriginal people prior to the white invasion. However, there are several accounts – the journals of officials and others in Read More

Title_Western Science

Western science and Aboriginal people

Author: Steven Ross Western Science is the great producer and indicator of progress and development. Hardly a life has been unaffected by western science in the 20th and 21st centuries as we become more reliant on science in our work, Read More

Title_First Contact

First Contact

Author: Anita Heiss In 1770 Captain James Cook met few Aboriginal people on the Eastern Australian shoreline. Because they did not grow crops and because he assumed there were no inland fishable rivers, he concluded that Australia’s interior was empty. Read More