Our history and heritage

8 ways to connect with First Nations cultures and communities

Make an impact beyond National Reconciliation Week

  • Visit our powerful public artwork ‘bara’

    Aboriginal artist Judy Watson’s work represents a giant bara, or fishhook crafted and used by Gadigal women for thousands of generations.

    Celebrating the First Peoples of Sydney, the traditional custodians of Gadigal Country, you can find the work on Tarpeian Precinct Lawn above Dubbagullee (Bennelong Point). Learn more about this stunning new artwork on Sydney Harbour.

    From there, you can find more First Nations public artworks.

    Credit: Chris Southwood/City of Sydney
  • Watch First Nations films

    Sydney Film Festival kicks off on Wednesday 7 June with an opening night screening of Warwick Thornton’s Cannes-selected new film The New Boy.

    The film stars Cate Blanchett, Deborah Mailman, Wayne Blair and newcomer Aswan Reid in a story of spirituality and survival set in 1940s Australia.

    The Sydney Film Festival program includes 7 First Nations films.

    You can also watch First Nations films free by using your City of Sydney Library membership at Beamafilm.

    Credit: The New Boy/Roadshow Films
  • Celebrate First Nations art at Vivid Sydney

    This year, Vivid Sydney is celebrating First Nations front and centre with a range of light installations, music and events.

    Check out Barerarerungar by Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarke. In Boonwurrung, a language from Kulin Nation, barerarerungar means 'country.' The work depicts river reeds which symbolise safe travels and friendship.

    Credit: Maree Clarke’s Barerarerungar at the MCA/Vivid Sydney
  • See a performance by Bangarra Dance Theatre

    Australia’s leading Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performing arts company, Bangarra Dance Theatre, presents Yuldea at the Sydney Opera House.

    Frances Rings’ first work as artistic director is a ceremonial affirmation of history and heritage. Yuldea tells the story of the Anangu people of the Great Victorian Desert. It explores the moment traditional life collided with the industrial ambition of a growing nation in 1917.

    Yuldea features original music by Leon Rodgers with featured songs by multi-award winning electronic pop duo Electric Fields (Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross).

    On until the 15 July

    Credit: Daniel Boud/Bangarra Dance Theatre
  • Read books by First Nations voices

    Join the library and access over 2,000 titles in our Koori collection. From bush medicine, bush tucker, astronomy, philosophy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, there’s something in the collection for everyone.

    Credit: Abril Felman/City of Sydney
  • Visit museums to see First Nations artwork

    At the Art Gallery of NSW’s North Building, you’ll find the Yiribana Gallery. The collection showcases First Nations art from across the continent in a range of practices and mediums.

    From outside, you can see Lorraine Connelly-Northey’s major commission Narrbong-galang (many bags). The work is made from rusted and salvaged metals.

    You can also take a guided tour of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander works at the Museum of Contemporary Art or a Waranara tour at the Australian Museum.

    Credit: Abril Felman/City of Sydney
  • Take a tour from one of these First Nations organisations

    Dreamtime Southern runs walking tours through the Rocks and coach tours further afield, both focusing on living Dreamtime cultural trails. Tribal Warrior is a Redfern organisation offering different themed cruises, including cultural tours.

    Our own Sydney Culture Walks app allows you to take self-guided walks. The Barani Redfern and Barani Sydney Cove/Warrane walks offer great learning experiences.

    Credit: Abril Felman/City of Sydney
  • Attend a local event

    Check out what’s on this National Reconciliation Week.

    Learn about the history of the Koori Knockout or the Barka river. You can also book in to attend a bush food planting day at Sydney City Farm.

    Credit: Chris Southwood/City of Sydney

This National Reconciliation Week calls for us to be a Voice for Generations. There are so many ways for us to engage and connect with First Nations people, histories and cultures, and to understand how we can make an impact on reconciliation.

Published 19 May 2023, updated 29 June 2023