Guide to Sydney’s Aboriginal places

Discover Aboriginal sites in Sydney. You can visit most of them with public transport.

I have compiled guides for several significant Aboriginal places. Sites which are also accessible by public transport are marked with a bus, those inaccessible within a reasonable time by public transport are marked with a car.

Aboriginal sites in the city

  • Barangaroo Reserve, Millers Point
  • Cahill Expressway interpretive display, Sydney Cove
  • Cyprus Hellene Club (Australian Hall), venue of the Day of Mourning
  • First flag (where the British flag was raised for the first time)
  • Museum of Sydney, Bridge Street
  • Opera House, Bennelong Point
  • Royal Botanic Gardens (Cadi Jam Ora display)
  • Sydney Observatory
  • T2 Building at Taylor Square, Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, is a 1910 Commonwealth Bank building transformed by Aboriginal artist Reko Rennie who painted it in bright pink with geometric diamonds that reference his associations to Aboriginal North-Western NSW and the traditional markings of the Kamilaroi people. Neon text across the front reads ‘always was, always will be’ a reference to the Gadigal people’s ongoing custodianship of the land at this site.
  • Tank Stream, Sydney’s first water supply
  • Town Hall is Sydney’s first burial ground.
  • Tribal Warrior tours. Book a tour aboard the Deerubbun or Tribal Warrior, vessels owned by the Tribal Warrior Association. The 2-hour journey, the only Aboriginal maritime tourism experience in Australia, is an ideal introduction to life in Sydney before invasion. Learn Aboriginal landmark names, hear stories of the local tribes and visit Clark Island to learn about bush foods and fishing. Book through Captain Cook Cruises, Circular Quay.

Aboriginal sites of the north

  • Spit Bridge to Manly, Sydney harbour north shore
  • Woodford Bay, Lane Cove, where a Reconciliation Memorial Plaque recognises the resistance to British invasion of the local Cameraygal people. It was unveiled in February 2004.

Aboriginal sites of the east

Aboriginal sites of the south

  • Bare Island in La Perouse hosts the Blak Markets on the first Sunday of the month. The day starts with a traditional smoking ceremony and Welcome to Country. You can taste bush-tucker infused meals, admire Aboriginal crafts and designs, and watch music and dance performances, participate in workshops from crafts and spear making, to fishing and the uses of native plants and artefacts.
  • Bundeena, Royal National Park
  • Redfern

Aboriginal sites of the west

  • Blacktown. Before European settlement, the area was inhabited by the Dharug tribe. In the 1820s, Governor Macquarie built “Black Town”, an institute aimed at assimilating Aboriginal people. This was abandoned by 1833 but the name stuck. These days, Blacktown is still home to large numbers of Aboriginal people.
  • Cleves Park, Putney, is the burial place of Aboriginal man Bennelong.
  • Warali Wali, Fairfield. Warali Wali is a series of Aboriginal artworks and sculptures along the Prospect Creek cycleway along the boundary between Fairfield City and Holroyd City. The artworks were developed by Aboriginal artists who explored the significance of Prospect Creek and the surrounding area to local Aboriginal people and shared the meaning through traditional Aboriginal stories. Fairfield City Council has more information.

Sydney’s Aboriginal place names

There are many places in Sydney bearing Aboriginal names. Here are a few of them.

Aboriginal place names in Sydney
Current place nameOriginal Aboriginal wordMeaning
Bondiwater breaking over rocks, place where nullas took place
Cabramattacabra
matta
fresh tasty water grub
a point or jutting out piece of land
Cammeraylocal Cammeraygal people
Cogeekoojastinking place (from the smell of rotten seaweed)
Cronullakurranullaplace of pink shells
Curl Curllagoon
Dee Whydiwainame of a bird common in the area
Jannaliplace of the moon, beautiful moonrise
Kirribillibased on the Spanish word ‘carabella’basket of fruit and flowers
Kogarahkuggerahplace of reeds
Kurnellkoon
dool
wild carrot
place of (place where the wild carrot grows)
Maroubramerro-barohlike thunder (from the sound of crashing surf)
Parramattalocal Burramatta peopleplace where eels lie down
Tamaramagamma gammastorm
Toongabbielocal Toongagal peopleplace near the water
Turramurrabig hill, high road
Woollahrawoolarameeting ground, camp
Woolloomooloowallamullah
wallabahmullah
place of plenty
young black kangaroo

Cite this article

An appropriate citation for this document is:

www.CreativeSpirits.info, Guide to Sydney’s Aboriginal places, retrieved 25 September 2017