North Sydney Council acknowledges the Cammeraygal People as being the traditional owners of this land and pay respect to Elders past and present.
Aboriginal North Shore
The Gamaragal people (also spelt Cammeraygal) are the traditional owners of parts of the North Shore. It is likely that North Sydney and Willoughby Councils are within this clan area, however, the exact boundaries are not known. Wallumedegal clan territory is to the west, Darramurragal to the north and Borogegal to the east. European arrival brought armed conflict and a serious lack of cross-cultural understanding. With colonisation came disease, warfare, death and displacement and most of the creation stories and lore of this place were never recorded. When acknowledging the traditional owners, acknowledging the Aboriginal history of this place can be an act of reconciliation.
For information on the clans of Sydney see: www.aboriginalheritage.org/history/clans-of-sydney/
For information about North Sydney's Aboriginal Heritage see: our Aboriginal Heritage webpage
When acknowledging Country for the purposes of addressing a letter please refer to Gamaragal or Cammeraygal Country for all the suburbs known as the "North Sydney Local Government Area".
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population in North Sydney
According to the 2016 ABS Census, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders numbered 201 and made up 0.3% of the North Sydney population. Of these residents,104 were male and 97 female, living in 141 households with 16.8% being children 0-14 years and 7.4% 65+ years. Although significantly lower than the average for Sydney (1.3%), NSW (2.9%) and Australia (2.8%), the population has grown significantly since 1986 when according to the census, there were just 61 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in North Sydney.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart
In 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered to make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years ago.
For the full Uluru Statement go to: ulurustatement.org
Translations of The Statement from the Heart into multiple languages were completed in partnership with the Northern Sydney Aboriginal Reconciliation Network in 2020 with the approval of the Authors of the Statement, Megan Davis Aboriginal Professor of Law at NSW University and Auntie Pat. These are available on our Multiculturalism webpage.
North Sydney Council has partnered with the Gai-mariagal Festival (previously Guringai) since its foundation in 2001. The festival aims to raise awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture from the Northern Sydney region. For more information on the Festival, go to: gai-mariagal-festival.com.au
In Stanton Library’s Heritage Centre, Council’s Historian has collected information and written about Aboriginal North Sydney which covers pre-colonial and colonial history and is available for loan. Such documents recognise contact and interaction with people like “Barangaroo and the original residents, as well as the ancient history and lore of this land”.
For further information go to our Heritage Centre webpage
For information about Aboriginal Heritage Sites in the North Sydney area including conservation and management plans see our Aboriginal Heritage webpage.
The Coal Loader app launched in 2021, includes the Council Bushland Walking Tracks brochure with information from the AHO on “Cammeraygal Country”. ie. “The Cammeraygal people, the original inhabitants, who had strong ties of kinship and were skilled hunters, fishers, agriculturists and gatherers. For more information on the Coal Loader and information about the App, go to: www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/coalloader
Arts and Culture
Public artworks by Aboriginal artists connected to the North Sydney area such as Tim Moriarty and the late Yaegl artist Jessica Birk have been commissioned by North Sydney Council.
Council partnered with Birk to deliver a range of community art projects including creative and cultural heritage workshops for secondary school students, temporary public artworks on traffic signal boxes and numerous exhibitions in Council’s inTransit Art Space, among other initiatives. Council commissioned Aboriginal artist Bibi Barber to create an artwork featured on the 2010 Guringai Festival poster and brochure. For more details on Arts and Culture in North Sydney, go to: www.northsydney.nsw.gov.au/artsandculture
Aboriginal Protocol Document
Council's Aboriginal Protocol document has been updated in 2021. Available to view below.