Photo: Badger Bates, noted Aboriginal Artist and Tour Guide
There are some truly wonderful tours, art and cultural centres that explore Australian Aboriginal culture, both in Sydney and throughout New South Wales. Led by experienced Aboriginal guides, exploring traditional lifestyle, music and dance, as well as Bush Tucker, the name for traditional Indigenous foods. Below is a sampling of places and tours:
Take an Aboriginal cultural cruise on Sydney Harbour with Tribal Warrior. Tour operators entertain visitors with stories of the Eora, Cadigal, Guringai, Wangal, Gammeraigal and Wallumedegal peoples.
Visitors step ashore on one the islands on Sydney Harbour to experience a traditional welcoming ceremony. You can learn about the Aboriginal names and meanings of significant Sydney landmarks and about traditional fishing methods. Cruises depart Tuesday to Saturday, 12.45pm from the Eastern Pontoon, Circular Quay. The vessels Tribal Warrior and Deerubbun are also available for charter. Bookings are Essential. Phone 02 9699 3491:
Blue Mountains Walkabout is Aboriginal owned and guided, and it follows the Darug songline through the mountains. Visitors learn by following a traditional walkabout song line. A certain level of fitness is required, the full-day adventure includes challenging bushwalks with plenty of time to relax by crystal clear waterfalls and billabongs.
On the walkabout, you will be able to see traditional cave art and Dreaming stories carved in stone, ochre painting and try traditional bush tucker tasting:
Yiribana Gallery, at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, houses the largest permanent exhibition of indigenous Australian and Torres Strait Islander artwork in the world. Tours of Yiribana are conducted at 11am daily (except Mondays):
Gavala Aboriginal Art Gallery, located at Darling Harbour in inner Sydney Central, is an Aboriginal-owned gallery and shop. Featuring authentic Australian indigenous art by significant indigenous artists, the gallery deals directly with the artists and their communities.
You can also find for sale didgeridoos, boomerangs, masks, statues and music. Gavala Aboriginal Art Centre, Harbourside, Darling Harbour, Phone 9212 7232:
Boomalli Gallery delivers a regular exhibition program highlighting urban Aboriginal contemporary arts to regional, national and international audiences. As well as a full exhibition schedule, Boomalli provides a commissioning service and advises artists on such collaborations. Phone: +061 2 9560 2541. Gallery: 55 - 59 Flood Street Leichhardt, Sydney.
Muru Mittigar provides you with the opportunity to participate and interact with members of the local Aboriginal community. This is achieved by the educational and enriching cultural activities that they offer. Traditional Aboriginal dancing, Aboriginal Art, a Cultural Museum and lessons in Didjeridoo and Boomerang Throwing are some of the features. Phone: +61 2 47 292 377:
Located in Tamworth NSW, here Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal Artists have joined together to form this co-operative, featuring upcoming and established artists. Phone: 61 2 6761 3321:
Umbarra Cultural Centre, 375 km south of Sydney near Bermagui, gives visitors the chance to learn about the Yuin Aboriginal people. The centre runs guided 4WD tours to local sacred sites at Gulaga (Mount Dromedary) and Biamanga (Mumbulla Mountain).
A boat cruise on beautiful Wallaga Lake reveals many significant sacred sites, including shell middens and Merriman’s Island:
Tobwabba Art Gallery and Studio is an Aboriginal owned and operated art gallery and studio in Forster, near Port Stephens, 304 km northeast of Sydney. It displays work mainly produced by members of the Wallamba people. Merchandise ranges from jewellery, T-shirts and sarongs to boomerangs, didgeridoos and music sticks:
Biame Art Gallery, based at Hunter Valley Gardens in Pokolbin, 162 km north of Sydney, sells authentic traditional and contemporary arts and crafts made by high profile Aboriginal artists from across Australia as well as locals the Hunter Valley Region. The shop is located in The Village, a small collaboration of retail outlets:
Harry Nanya Tours is an accredited Australian Aboriginal-owned and operated multi-award winning business, running half day, full day and overnight tours to Mungo National Park, 1050 km southwest of Sydney. The qualified guides belong to the local Barkindji people who have passed down their history and legends from generation to generation:
A growing number of NSW National Parks and Reserves are being successfully preserved with co-administration from the NSW government and Aboriginal Tribal Councils. There are Discovery Tours available, including the Aboriginal Discovery Program, giving you further chances to learn about Aboriginal Culture and Heritage.
Photo on the Top of Page: Guided tour of Aboriginal art with Badger Bates, Mutawintji National Park, Outback NSW. Badger Bates is a noted Broken Hill artist, Aboriginal Elder and Senior Archeological Officer for the NPWS, Broken Hill.
Call the National Parks Centre for more info at 1300 361 967.
Please support Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait artists by purchasing only genuine original art, indicated by label.
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