Lord Mayor Clover Moore, with Deputy Mayor Irene Doutney, Uncle Chicka Madden, Uncle Max Eulo, Nathan Moran and local school children (image courtesy City of Sydney)

Reconciliation Park

Reconciliation is the symbolic recognition of the honoured place of the First Australians in our society. The movement for reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community began in the early 1990s. It led to Read More

A group of friends watch the Welcome to Country ceremony near the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the New Year's Eve 2015 celebrations (photograph by Cole Bennetts, courtesy City of Sydney/Getty Images)

NYE Welcome to Country illuminations

On New Years Eve 2015, a specially choreographed Welcome to Country was projected on to the pylons of Sydney Harbour Bridge, making the entire structure a message of hope for 2016.

Woolloomooloo

Woolloomooloo Bay

Woolloomooloo is the name given to the valley located immediately east of the original settlement of Sydney Town. Variant spellings of its Aboriginal place name included Waalamool, Walla Mulla, Walla-mool and Wallamoula. In 1793, Commissary General John Palmer was granted 100 acres Read More

View of the Parramatta River from Observatory Hill

Observatory Hill

At over 40 metres above sea level, Observatory Hill is the most elevated point in Sydney. It’s at the crest of the rocky ridge that separates Sydney Cove to the east and Darling Harbour to the west. It was known Read More

Approach to Sydney Terminus showing Blackwattle Swamp

Blackwattle Creek

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward Blackwattle Creek was originally a tidal watercourse that flowed from swampy lands that are now within the grounds of the University of Sydney. The creek flowed from this swamp through a valley thick with Read More

Goat Island midden

Aboriginal sites on Goat Island

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward Goat Island is a small rocky landmass in the waters of Sydney Harbour. It was inhabited by early colonial Aboriginal identity Bennelong and his wife Barangaroo, and was said to have belonged to Bennelong’s Read More

Looking south along Botany Road

Moore Park Campsite

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward An Aboriginal campsite was discovered in 2014 beneath the car park of the Moore Park Tennis Centre. It was unearthed during archaeological excavations brought about by the proposed construction of a light rail line Read More

Aboriginal camp at Cockle Bay c 1812

Tinker’s Well

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward All people depend on fresh water to live, and so it is usually the case that reliable sources of water known to Aboriginal people were later used by Europeans. The most permanent of these Read More

Stone artefacts from the Moores Wharf midden

Moores Wharf Midden

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward In the late 1970s, the NSW Maritime Services Board began to redevelop the Moores Wharf area at Millers Point on the end of the eastern shore of Cockle Bay (Darling Harbour). The board decided Read More

Detail from an illustration of the engravings

Moore Park Engraving

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward On a slab of sandstone just outside Centennial Park there were once some Aboriginal engravings. Rock engravings were produced when Aboriginal people carved them onto level sandstone platforms, ledges or small rock exposures. They Read More

View from the Government Domain

Yurong Cave and Yurong Midden

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward Yurong Point is known today as the site of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, a seat carved from stone in the 1810s so Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s wife Elizabeth could enjoy the view of the harbour. It Read More

William and Riley Street Hatchet

William Street

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward In 1925, a stone axe was found more than five metres below the surface during construction work at the corner of William and Riley Streets in East Sydney. Almost eighty years later in 2003 the Read More

St Mary's Hatchet

St Mary’s Cathedral Hatchet

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward An Aboriginal stone axe head, also called a ‘ground-edge hatchet’, was found in a road cutting behind St Mary’s Cathedral in 1876. The hatchet would have started its life as a large flat river Read More

Stone artefacts from the KENS Site

The KENS Site

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward In 2003, archaeologists discovered a large Aboriginal campsite in the western part of central Sydney. It was named the KENS Site after the surrounding streets (Kent, Erskine, Napoleon and Sussex). The earlier building had Read More

Woolloomooloo

Junction Lane Campsite

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward In 1997, an Aboriginal campsite was discovered at Junction Lane in Woolloomooloo during archaeological excavations ahead of the construction of the Eastern Distributor motorway. Underneath around a metre of recent ‘fill’ (historically deposited material Read More

Conservatorium of Music

Conservatorium of Music

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward In 1998, some Aboriginal stone artefacts were found during archaeological excavations ahead of the redevelopment of the Sydney Conservatorium of Music on Macquarie Street. The excavations were being undertaken to investigate an area of Read More

Stone artefacts from the Wynyard Walk Aboriginal campsite

Wynyard Walk campsite

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward During archaeological excavations associated with the construction of the Wynyard Walk pedestrian link in mid-2014, a small Aboriginal campsite was located. The campsite consisted of several Aboriginal stone artefacts located in natural soil underneath Read More

Aboriginal midden

Darling Walk Midden

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward In 2009 archaeologists found an Aboriginal campsite, or ‘midden’, on the eastern side of Cockle Bay (Darling Harbour) in an area known as the Darling Quarter, west of Harbour Street, between Bathurst and Liverpool Read More

YININMADYEMI Thou didst let fall, artwork by Tony Albert (Photograph by Paul Patterson, image courtesy City of Sydney)

YININMADYEMI Thou didst let fall

This major artwork in Hyde Park South honours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who served in our nation’s military and their families. Sydney-based artist Tony Albert created the work, inspired by the story of his grandfather Eddie Albert’s narrow wartime escape. The work is also based on research Read More

Government Boatsheds

Government Boatsheds

The government’s Marine Board boatsheds were on the eastern side of Circular Quay at Bennelong Point, just to the south of Fort Macquarie and the Sydney Rowing Club boatsheds. Around 18 Aboriginal people were camped here from 1879 through to July Read More

Harry Williams and Chicka Dixon

Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs

The Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs was established in December 1964 to provide assistance to Aboriginal people living in Sydney. Although it was originally intended as a non-political and non-religious organisation, it soon became an important stepping stone in the push Read More

Mount Carmel Catholic Church at Waterloo, painted by Conrad Martens in 1836 (image courtesy State Library of NSW, DGD 8)

Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School

A number of private and public schools in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs have provided primary education for Aboriginal people. Our Lady of Mount Carmel Primary School at Waterloo, originally known as the Waterloo Estate School when it opened in 1858, is Read More

Darlington Public School

Darlington Public School

A number of private and public schools in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs have provided primary education for Aboriginal people. Darlington Public School was established in 1878, moving to new premises on Abercrombie Street in 1975. It has educated primary school age Read More

Cleveland Street High School

Cleveland Street High School

A number of private and public schools in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs have provided primary education for Aboriginal people. Cleveland Street High School has educated generations of Redfern and Waterloo children since it was established in 1867. Originally the school provided Read More

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Alexandria Park High School

A number of private and public schools in Sydney’s inner-city suburbs have provided primary education for Aboriginal people. In 1982, Cleveland Street and Waterloo High Schools were merged to become a co-educational facility in Alexandria Park on the site of Read More

Waterloo Library in December 1984

Waterloo Town Hall & Library

Waterloo Town Hall was converted to a library in the early 1970s. The Koori Collection is a dedicated Aboriginal history collection held at the library which was officially launched in July 2007 as part of NAIDOC Week. It comprises over Read More

Federal Match Factory

Federal Match Factory

Sydney has long been a magnet for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking work opportunities, shelter and connections with community and family. Many worked in private industry in Sydney’s southern suburbs. Local industries where Aboriginal people worked were the Read More

Australian Glass Manufacturers

Australian Glass Manufacturers

Sydney has long been a magnet for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking work opportunities, shelter and connections with community and family. Many worked in private industry in Sydney’s southern suburbs. Local industries where Aboriginal people worked were the Read More

Francis chocolate factory

Francis Chocolates

Sydney has long been a magnet for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking work opportunities, shelter and connections with community and family. Many worked in private industry in Sydney’s southern suburbs. Local industries where Aboriginal people worked were the Read More

Workers at the unveiling of an honour board at the Eveleigh Railway Yards in Redfern (photograph courtesy Noel Butlin Collection, Australian National University – hdl:1885/203)

Eveleigh Railway Yards

Eveleigh Railway Yards was Sydney’s largest employer from the time it opened in 1886. It was also one of the biggest employers of Aboriginal people living in Sydney. Many Aboriginal men also worked in the Alexandria goods yard loading trains Read More

May Day procession

Trades Hall

When Aboriginal people began to organise politically, there were often sympathetic non-Aboriginal people to help in the struggle, some of them unionists. From the 1950s, unions and Aboriginal organisations worked closely to build momentum towards the 1967 Referendum on Citizenship Read More

Redfern Town Hall in 1871 (photograph courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW - SPF / 727)

Redfern Town Hall

Town Halls throughout Sydney’s inner suburbs provided large civic spaces that Aboriginal organisations used to gather and socialise for leisure activities and political meetings. Aboriginal activist William Ferguson was a member of the Aborigines Progressive Association (APA). Key campaign meetings Read More

Sydney Town Hall

Sydney Town Hall

Sydney Town Hall played an important role in the movement towards self-determination from the 1960s onwards. Like other town halls throughout Sydney’s inner suburbs, it was a ‘hall for hire’, providing a large civic space where Aboriginal organisations could gather Read More

Alexandria Town Hall in 1943 (image from  Alexandria, 'the Birmingham of Australia': 75 years of progress, 1868-1943, published by Alexandria Municipal Council, 1943).

Alexandria Town Hall

Town Halls throughout Sydney’s inner suburbs provided large civic spaces that Aboriginal organisations used to gather and socialise for leisure activities and political meetings. Regular dances were organised by the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship, the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs and the Redfern Read More

The Empress Hotel

Empress Hotel

The Empress Hotel on Regent Street was frequented by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the 1940s through to the 1970s. Although it was a place where Aboriginal people were able to drink and socialise freely, it was also Read More

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Clifton Hotel

The Clifton Hotel on Botany Road in Waterloo was a place where Aboriginal people gathered. It was where the decision was made to start the Koori Knockout, and where Bob Bellear decided to pursue a legal career after watching police Read More

Redfern Community Centre

Redfern Community Centre

The Redfern Community Centre, a focus for Aboriginal social and cultural activities in Sydney, is located in a refurbished former factory on The Block. It is surrounded by a landscaped park which is used for recreation and functions. Local Aboriginal Read More

National Centre of Indigenous Excellence

NCIE

Redfern Public School was established in 1879. It educated generations of Aboriginal children living in Redfern and surrounding suburbs during the 20th century. Most students knew the school as George Street Public. In 2006, the buildings and grounds of the Read More

Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern logo

Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern

Aboriginal Dance Theatre Redfern (ADTR) was founded in 1979, occupying part of the old Black Theatre building before moving to Renwick Street. It offers accredited courses in Aboriginal dance and theatre skills, and provides a dance outreach program for children Read More

Boy Scouts' visit to Royleston in May 1925 (Sydney Mail, 3 June 1925, p. 19)

Royleston

Royleston was a grand Glebe residence built in 1880. It was purchased by the NSW Child Welfare Department in 1922 for use as a ‘home’ or ‘receiving depot’ for male wards of the state. Nearby Bidura fulfilled the same purpose Read More

Eora College

Eora Centre

The Eora Centre in Chippendale is a campus of the Sydney Institute of TAFE. Originally located at Regent Street, and later relocated to its present site on Abercrombie Street, it has been a centre for contemporary visual and performing arts Read More

Murrawina

Murawina

Murawina, meaning ‘black woman’, was a childcare centre run by and for Aboriginal people. It began in 1972 as a breakfast program in Hollis Park for local Aboriginal children living in Redfern and Newtown, but soon expanded to become a Read More

Paul Keating at the launch of the Year of the Indigenous Person at Redfern Park

Redfern Park

Redfern Park was the site of a speech given by the former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating on 10 December 1992, to launch the Year of the Indigenous Person. Subsequently referred to as the ‘Redfern Speech’, it focused on reconciliation, Read More

Protesting taking to the streets of Sydney during the 1988

Land Rights

Along with the protection of children, and the right to vote and be counted, Aboriginal people also mobilised politically around land rights throughout the 20th century. Sydney had seen protests about Aboriginal land ownership from the early 20th century, but Read More

Gary Williams and Charles Perkins at Sydney University

Freedom Ride

Student Action for Aborigines (SAFA) was formed in 1964 as a way of engaging students at the University of Sydney with issues encountered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia. The group had been directly influenced by the Read More

The Boot Trade Union Hall

Boot Trade Union Hall

The Boot Trade Union Hall at Redfern was a popular gathering place for Aboriginal people living in Sydney following the Second World War, especially for dances on Friday evenings. It was also the site of an important Aborigines Progressive Association Read More

Aboriginal Medical Service in 1974

Aboriginal Medical Service

The Aboriginal Medical Service (AMS) was set up in July 1971 to provide free medical support to Aboriginal people living in Sydney. It was the first Aboriginal community-run medical service in Australia, and had a holistic approach to health care Read More

Redfern’s Aboriginal Legal Service

Aboriginal Legal Service

The Aboriginal Legal Service was established in December 1970 to provide free legal assistance to Aboriginal people living in Sydney. The service was intended to counteract disadvantage and discrimination faced by Aboriginal people, especially those unable to afford legal advice. Read More

AAAP Logo

St David’s Hall

The Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (AAPA) was an all-Aboriginal political organisation formed in Sydney in 1924 by Fred Maynard. He had been involved in the Coloured Progressive Association, a group active in Sydney between 1903 and 1908, and was profoundly Read More

Parish Map of St Philip

Dawes Point / Tar-Ra

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward The Aboriginal name for the peninsula on the western side of Sydney Cove is Tar-Ra. It is also known as Dawes Point because it was the site of an observatory built in April 1788 Read More

Redfern All Blacks Memorial team

Koori Knockout

The NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout, known to most as the Koori Knockout, has been held annually since 1971. It grew out of a longstanding tradition among Sydney’s Aboriginal community of playing and watching rugby league, starting in the 1930s Read More

Merv ‘Boomanulla’ Williams

Redfern All Blacks

The dynamic and successful Redfern All Blacks rugby league team formed officially in 1944, but may have begun informally a decade earlier. The team attracted talented players from around NSW including Eric ‘Nugget’ Mumbler, Babs Vincent and Merv ‘Boomanulla’ Williams. Read More

Paddington Town Hall

Paddington Town Hall

Town Halls throughout Sydney’s inner suburbs provided large civic spaces that Aboriginal organisations used to gather and socialise for leisure activities and political meetings. Sydney Town Hall was the scene of debutante balls for young Aboriginal girls in the 1950s Read More

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Bangarra Dance Theatre

Bangarra Dance Theatre is a dance company formed in 1989 by staff and students of National Aboriginal Islander Skills Development Association (NAISDA), including Carole Johnson who had been involved with the Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre since the 1970s. Bangarra Dance Read More

Exterior of the building for Gadigal Information Services designed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer, with artwork by Adam Hill (photograph courtesy City of Sydney)

Gadigal Information Service

When Radio Redfern stopped broadcasting in the early 1990s, the gap was quickly filled. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned and operated organisation Gadigal Information Service was founded in 1993. It broadcasts a full-time radio station, Koori Radio (93.7FM 2LND), Read More

Radio Redfern on Cope Street in 198

Radio Redfern

Maureen Watson and her son Tiga Bayles laid the foundations for Radio Redfern in 1981, when they started broadcasting for 10 minutes each week on community radio station 2SER 107.3 FM. When Radio Skid Row (2RSR 88.9 FM) was allocated Read More

Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre

Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre

The Aboriginal Islander Dance Theatre was established in 1975 as a full-time training program to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take up professional dance. It launched the careers of many dancers and performers, and raised the profile Read More

mural on the southern wall of Wyanga

Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care

Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care was established by Sylvia Scott and Mary Silva in 1996 to provide a community aged care service for Aboriginal people in inner Sydney and La Perouse. The service, which today provides home care and residential accommodation, Read More

Museum of Sydney

The Edge of the Trees

This public artwork created by Fiona Foley and Janet Lawrence is located in the forecourt of the Museum of Sydney on the site of First Government House. The Edge of the Trees symbolises the interaction between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people Read More

Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove)

Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove)

Wuganmagulya (Farm Cove) is an art installation within the Royal Botanic Gardens which honours the original clans who lived on the site, as well as those who held ceremonies there. The artwork is in the form of a mosaic inlaid Read More

Art Gallery of NSW in 1959

Yiribanna Gallery

The Art Gallery of NSW was established in 1884, but only acquired its first Aboriginal works in the mid-20th century. One of the gallery’s first collections of Aboriginal art was a donation of bark and paper paintings from the 1948 Read More

Aboriginal activists in the lounge of the Burlington Hotel

Burlington Hotel

Aboriginal people were not free to drink in public bars in Sydney through to the 1970s. Although not upheld by law, this informal apartheid was enforced by patrons, publicans and the police. The imposition of this unofficial ban was a Read More

Boomalli 1987

Boomalli

Boomalli is an artist-run cooperative which was formed in 1987 by a group of 10 urban Aboriginal artists working across a range of media from painting and photography to sculpture and print making. The word boomalli means ‘to strike’ or Read More

Here Comes the Nigger

Black Theatre

Black Theatre was an Aboriginal-run theatre company established in 1972 in response to the emerging land rights movement. It started on Regent Street in Redfern but later moved to Cope Street, next door to Radio Redfern. Black Theatre offered workshops Read More

Debutantes Ball 1968

Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs

The headquarters of the Foundation for Aboriginal Affairs on George Street was opened in October 1966. In addition to providing welfare support for Aboriginal people migrating to Sydney from regional areas of NSW, the George Street shopfront was a focal Read More

Henry Jones & Co IXL Jam Factory

Henry Jones IXL jam factory

Sydney has long been a magnet for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people seeking work opportunities, shelter and connections with community and family. Many worked in private industry in Sydney’s southern suburbs. Local industries where Aboriginal people worked were the Read More

Students at Tranby Aboriginal College

Tranby

Tranby Aboriginal College is a community-based education cooperative run by and for Aboriginal people. Located in the inner-city suburb of Glebe, Tranby has provided an independent learning environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people since it was set up Read More

Aboriginal Housing Company The Block Redfern

Aboriginal Housing Company

There has always been an Aboriginal presence in Redfern because it is centrally located, housing was once relatively cheap, and it was close to industry and jobs in South Sydney. During the 1930s Depression, many extended families moved to the Read More

National Aborigines Day image

Martin Place

Following the Day of Mourning protest on Australia Day in 1938, an annual protest event was inaugurated. Known as Aborigines Day, it was held each Sunday before Australia Day. In the mid-50s, it was decided to move this commemoration day Read More

Day of Mourning in 1938

Australian Hall

This was where Aboriginal rights activist Jack Patten read the resolution on citizenship rights at the Day of Mourning Conference on 26 January 1938, which only Aboriginal people were allowed to attend. Activists including Patten, William Ferguson and William Cooper Read More

Bidura in 1973

Bidura

Bidura was a grand residence designed and built as a family home by architect Edmund Blacket. It was purchased by the NSW Child Welfare Department in 1920 for use as a ‘home’ for female wards of the state. Nearby Royleston Read More

New members of the Aborigines Welfare Board in 1964

Aborigines Welfare Board

The Chief Secretary’s Building on Macquarie Street was the meeting place for the now notorious Aborigines Welfare Board until the Board’s abolition in 1969. The organisation was formed in 1883 under its original name, the Board for the Protection of Read More

Sydney from the western side of the Cove c 1803, attributed to G W Evans (image courtesy State Library of NSW - XV1 / 1803 / 1)

Circular Quay / Warrane

The Aboriginal name for Sydney Cove as recorded in a number of First Fleet journals, maps and vocabularies, was Warrane, also spelt as War-ran, Warrang and Wee-rong. This place is highly significant to both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people as a Read More

A ceremony at Farm Cove

The Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens

The Governor’s Domain was proclaimed by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1812 to provide a parkland setting for First Government House. The grounds were much more extensive than today, taking in the Royal Botanic Gardens and extending to Woolloomooloo Bay to Read More

A portrait of Bennelong

The site of First Government House

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward Sydney’s first Government House overlooking Sydney Cove was built for Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789. The building and its grounds were an important place of early contact and cross-cultural exchange between Sydney’s Aboriginal population Read More

1842 view of Hyde Park South

Hyde Park South

Until the mid-1820s, Aboriginal people travelled from all over Sydney, and as far away as the Hunter and the Illawarra, to gather at a ceremonial contest ground to the south of the city. The exact location of this site of Read More

Shell fish hooks (bara)

Australian Museum

The Australian Museum is Australia’s oldest natural history museum. It was established in 1827 when the British Colonial Office authorised a museum in NSW for the collection of ‘rare and curious specimens of natural history’. Today, it has a rich Read More

Prince Alfred Park 1850

Prince Alfred Park (Cleveland Paddocks)

Prince Alfred Park, earlier known as Cleveland Paddocks, was an Aboriginal camp site until the mid-19th century. Sydney’s Aboriginal people lived here, west of the city centre, until the coming of the railway in 1855 and the subsequent use of Read More

Lake Northam, Victoria Park, Glebe

Lake Northam

Blackwattle Creek was once a tidal watercourse that extended from its marshy headwaters at Glebe towards the suburbs of Redfern and Waterloo to the south. Lake Northam within Victoria Park is a remnant of this creek. It was one of a Read More

Bennelong Point / Dubbagullee, Sydney

Bennelong Point / Dubbagullee

Dubbagullee, the peninsula on the eastern side of Sydney Cove, was the site of a brick hut built for Bennelong by Governor Arthur Phillip in 1790. Within two years, Bennelong set sail for England with his young kinsman Yemmerrawanne and Read More

John Lewin, ‘Fish catch and Dawes Point Sydney Harbour’

Lilyvale Campsite

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward The Rocks area is mainly known as a place of early European history, but it was also used by Aboriginal people for many years before colonial settlement. Traces of an Aboriginal campsite have been Read More

Excavation at Sheas Creek

Sheas Creek (Alexandra Canal) Alexandria

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward At Beaconsfield in the 1890s, workers on the Alexandra Canal began cutting through the sediments of Shea’s Creek and made some remarkable discoveries. The sediments were several metres deep and contained layers of shell, Read More

Stone artefacts from the Angel Place site

Tank Stream Sydney

Author: Paul Irish and Tamika Goward Central Sydney is built in the Tank Stream valley. The Tank Stream now runs underneath the city, but its fresh water was one of the main reasons why Europeans set up camp in Sydney Read More