Cultural and creative life

Acknowledging the importance of Country in a new harbour walk

Yananurala is the new name for a walk that will share Aboriginal perspectives of place through artworks and installations along the Sydney harbour foreshore.

Emily McDaniel. Credit Katherine Griffiths City of Sydney

A 9km curated walk along Sydney Harbour will soon take visitors on a unique journey on Gadigal Country from Pirrama (Pyrmont) to Woolloomooloo.

Devised by Wiradjuri curator Emily McDaniel, Yananurala will include audio and text-based installations that highlight the historical and cultural significance of places along the harbour foreshore.

The walk will also interpret new and old Aboriginal stories and perspectives through public artworks at Pirrama (Pyrmont), Barangaroo, Ta-ra (Dawes Point), Warrane (Circular Quay) and Woolloomooloo.

Emily McDaniel. Image Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney
Emily McDaniel. Image Katherine Griffiths, City of Sydney

“The walk is an Acknowledgement of Country in its truest, most ancient form,” curator Emily McDaniel said.

As you walk the shoreline, interact with public art and stories, hear whispers of language and place your feet in the water, you are introducing yourself to this Country so that it will remember you. This is about you seeing what we see, feeling what we feel and hearing what we hear.

Major public artworks will interpret the intersection between Country, water and astronomy and honour Aboriginal people’s relationship with them, highlight the site where Patyegarang gifted the Sydney Aboriginal language to William Dawes and recognise the resilience and enduring presence of Aboriginal communities.

The name Yananurala is from the Gadigal language and translates to Walking on Country.

Combining two Gadigal words, yana (walk) and nura (Country), the la adds an instruction: ‘So, you go walk Country!’

The City of Sydney will add this phrase to signs and materials about the walk:

Yanala ngarala gadinurada. Yururala, yana yuramirung.
Walk, think, listen, hear on Gadi Country. Feel it strongly, walk with us.

The name follows extensive consultation with the City’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory panel, local Aboriginal community representatives and the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council. It is the first step in realising the vision for the walk.

“The City is committed to re-balancing the work of previous Australian governments, at all levels, by developing ways to make the world’s oldest continuing culture a visible and tangible presence in our City,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

Our plans for a 9km walk along the harbour foreshore will help further recognise Aboriginal spirituality and enduring presence, cultural heritage and contemporary expression in a prominent and creative way.

Yananurala is part of the City of Sydney’s Eora Journey program, curated by Hetti Perkins, to recognise the heritage and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the public domain. It is delivered by the City’s public art program, City Art.

The walk invites us all to celebrate and learn from our beautiful harbour. And it’s hoped Yananurala will help locals and visitors better understand our Country in a way Aboriginal people have experienced for millennia.

Published 19 August 2021, updated 30 September 2021