Barani is an Aboriginal word of the Sydney language. It means ‘yesterday’. ‘Sydney’ as a place name dates from the arrival of the first convicts in 1788. For Aboriginal people who have lived here for at least 40,000 years, that is only yesterday. The word barani (yesterday) reminds us that there has been a continued presence of Aboriginal people in Sydney.

Aboriginal people have always lived in this place we call Sydney. The original inhabitants of the Sydney city region are the Gadigal people. Despite the destructive impact of first contact, Gadigal culture survived. As the town of Sydney developed into a city, the Gadigal were joined by other Aboriginal people from elsewhere in NSW, to live, work and forge relationships within the urban Aboriginal community. Aboriginal people in our city have a devastating yet profound past (barani) and a diverse yet shared future (barrabugu). They’re ‘black, proud and deadly’.

The website Barani: Sydney’s Aboriginal History provides histories of people, places and events in the City of Sydney local government area that are associated with the histories of Sydney’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It highlights Sydney’s Aboriginal journey: its places, its history and its people.

Barani celebrates a living culture in the heart of the city.

The Barani website has:

  • Thematic essays that explore aspects of Sydney’s Aboriginal history
  • A map that shows places that have historical associations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • A timeline that highlights historical events that have occurred in Sydney that are of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Biographies of significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations that have strong associations to Sydney
  • Resources including books, films, images and websites
  • Historical and cultural events on our news page