Book maps Sydney’s Aboriginal ‘precincts of significance’ and living history

Book maps Sydney's Aboriginal 'precincts of significance' and living history

 22 November, 2010

Sydney's rich and complex Aboriginal history - and the many fascinating potential places to visit for hundreds of thousands of tourists and Australians alike - is highlighted in a remarkable book - Aboriginal Sydney -  to be launched in Sydney tomorrow - November 23.

The book - an updated second edition of a popular 2001 release - is an authoritative and informative guide book and an alternative social history told through 'precincts of significance' to the city's Aboriginal people.

 Aboriginal Sydney will be launched by the Chairwoman of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Bev Manton, and the Principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Mr Russell Taylor.

 "The book takes the invisibility of Sydney's Aboriginal heritage as its starting point and offers a different perspective on one of the world's great cities by making this invisible heritage visible," Mr Taylor said.

"It does this by mapping and identifying many of the important historical Aboriginal heritage sites than can still be visited in and around Sydney."

 Chairwoman Manton said she was honoured to be asked to launch Aboriginal Sydney.

 "I think both Australians and international visitors alike will welcome the opportunity to learn more about Sydney's great Aboriginal heritage.

"Despite its bustling urban presence, Sydney has a rich and complex Aboriginal heritage."

"Hidden within its' burgeoning city landscape, lie layers of a vibrant culture and a turbulent history, but, you need to know where to look - Aboriginal Sydney supplies that information."

"It is also time both Australia and the world knew more about Sydney's rich Aboriginal heritage - it is a win-win situation," Chairwoman Manton said.

Sites identified and documented in the book include:

  • Rock art and middens in national parks
  • Points of early contact and conflict around Sydney harbour
  • Sites of ' civilising experiments' to the west of Sydney
  • Places of protest, civil rights and community pride in Redfern and La Perouse
  • Cultural centres, galleries, museums and theatres

 Aboriginal Sydney is published by AIATSIS award winning publishing arm Aboriginal Studies Press.

 It is a joint work by Melinda Hinkson, a lecturer in social anthropology at the Australian National University's Research School of Humanities and the Arts and Aboriginal photographer Alana Harris, a Wiradjuri/Ngunnawal woman raised in Cowra who manages AIATSIS' Still Image Service Unit.

"The sites within the precincts, and their accompanying stories and photographs, evoke Sydney's ancient past, and allow us all to celebrate the living Aboriginal culture of today," Mr Taylor said.

"Both Bev Manton and I agree that at a time when reconciliation is high on the agenda of all of Australia's major political parties,  the more Australia can share its rich Aboriginal cultural heritage was both important, welcome and worthwhile."

Note:  The book launch will take place at 11 am at the headquarters of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council, 33 Argyle Street, Parramatta.

Further information:    Peter Windsor - AIATSIS 0400 554 603