Sydney is a fantastic place to learn about Aboriginal culture. Aboriginal people have always lived here and our inspirational guide for the morning is Margret Campbell, a Dunghutti – Jerrinjah woman. Margret has been educating people on Aboriginal culture for many years. During our walk through the historic Rocks area Margret tells us about the traditional owners of Sydney – the Gadigal people, and I was interested to find out that there are around 29 clan groups in the Sydney metro area who are referred to collectively as the Eora Nation. After an acknowledgement of Earth Mother using Margret’s traditional ochre (paint), we learnt how the Aboriginal Dreaming is still very much alive in the modern Sydney landscape, and about the significance of a person’s birthplace to Aboriginal people. Margret explained that Aboriginal people are connected to their country, and that no matter where they go, their ‘country’ calls them back, with a feeling like homesickness (see the video below where this is captured in her own words).
We then headed to the Art Gallery of NSW, which features Indigenous art from right across Australia. One of the most memorable displays for me were fruit bats decorated in Aboriginal art hanging from a clothesline complete with ‘droppings’ underneath. Check it out if you get the chance!
During the afternoon we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney for an Aboriginal heritage tour of the gardens. Our wonderful guide, Henrietta, showed us native plants; their fruits, medicinal uses and how they were used to create tools… all with the stunning backdrop of Sydney Harbour! She gave me a taste of the deliciously sour Davidson’s Plum which has 100 times the vitamin C content of an orange as well as lutein, magnesium, zinc, calcium potassium and manganese… a secret superfood if ever there was one! All the guides have unique and special stories to tell, another of their guides actually helped us with our casting by chatting with our potential talent to share culture and see how they interacted. He kept us all enthralled with a huge number of special and fascinating stories and topics, and had a great sense of humour.
Last time I was here their chef cooked up some incredibly delicious bush food inspired canapés at the picturesque Botanic Gardens Restaurant, which offers beautiful open-air dining overlooking the Garden’s. I was thinking the wisteria-draped verandah would make a great closing shot for the short film we are producing.
Next I’m going quad biking at Pt Stephens, stay tuned for this next adventure … Kristi!