First Nations strategy

For us as caretakers of history and heritage, this plan is just the beginning in exploring the truth of our shared history.

Hayden Walsh, First Nations Advisor, 2022 

In July 2022, we launched our First Nations strategy, an ambitious strategy and action plan for ensuring that First Nations voices, perspectives and histories are embedded across our programs, exhibitions and content channels.

The strategy has been developed and led by First Nations Advisor at MHNSW, Hayden Walsh, who says, ‘We didn’t want to write just another document, another cliché text. I wanted the strategy to be personal, to have heart and meaning in everything it says, and most of all, something that will hold us all accountable as we do the work that needs to be done for and with our First Nations cultures and people’.

We have been incredibly grateful to have diverse community involvement and consultation, with many more local community and Aboriginal families to work with and yarn with, as we move forward into the future. Our consultation with and understanding of community are ongoing processes that will continue to take place as we move forward together over the coming years and are informed and guided by the needs and aspirations of our local communities. The strategy has also been made possible thanks to the strong involvement and support from the MHNSW First Nations working group, staff, Executive team and Board of Trustees.

This strategy outlines the work we need to do as an organisation, both internally and externally, as we commit to new ways of working, listening and understanding.

As it says in our vision statement:

Our vision is to support and empower First Nations people, communities and cultures. Across the sites that we care for, we are committed to shifting perspectives, truth telling and delivering honest reflections on history. By accurately reflecting and presenting a clear lens on the past, we aim to increase the understanding of the incredible depths of knowledge, culture and connection to Country that First Nations people have continued to have for over 60,000 years and to this day. Delivering First Nations stories and experiences at our sites, led by First Nations people, we will offer our audiences unique ways to learn about, to engage with and to celebrate First Nations cultures.

We hope you enjoy reading the First Nations strategy, along with the beautiful images of our sites, collection and most importantly, the local communities and people who bring life, passion and meaning to the work that we do.

This strategy is not about eliminating colonial stories or colonial history, but making room for other perspectives and expanding our view of history. Truth telling and increased access open up opportunities for healing and for a more united future, as we tell these shared histories across our shared landscapes.

Uncle Wes Marne,a Bigambul Elder telling stories at the Yarning Circle as part of the Eel Festival at Elizabeth Farm

First Nations Hub

A dedicated space for First Nations community, cultures and history

First Nations Strategy

View the strategy