Mrs Macquarie's Chair

Mrs Macquarie’s Chair

Author: Paul Irish In January 1988, an Aboriginal Tent Embassy was set up at Mrs Macquarie’s Chair (at Mrs Macquaries Point / Yurong) in protest against the planned bicentennial celebrations of European settlement in Australia. For Aboriginal people, the arrival Read More

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.

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

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

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


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

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

Boomalli 1987


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

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

A ceremony at Farm Cove

The Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens

Author: Paul Irish The Governor’s Domain has been a public space since the earliest days of the Sydney colony, and continued to be used for many years by Aboriginal people. It was proclaimed by Governor Lachlan Macquarie in 1812 to 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

Bennelong Point / Dubbagullee, Sydney

Bennelong Point / Dubbagullee

Bennelong Point / 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 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