Yura Nura: People & Country

Yura Nura: People and Country presents contemporary Aboriginal reflections on the history of Sydney and colonisation.

The relationship between the British and Aboriginal peoples largely began around Warrane (Sydney Cove) on the site where the first Government House was built and the Museum of Sydney now stands (near present-day Circular Quay). From its construction in 1788 to its demolition in 1845, the first Government House was the centre of colonial power in Australia. Imposing British law on Aboriginal people, orders were issued and multiple governing documents were signed within its walls that had, and continue to have, direct impact on Indigenous people across Australia.

This display provides a glimpse into the complex relationship between this significant site and Aboriginal people, culture and land, then and now. Arrernte/Kalkadoon filmmaker Rachel Perkins’ award-winning documentary First Australians explores key events in the early years of the colony and includes personal reflections on the impacts still felt by Aboriginal people today. Three artworks by Gordon Syron, a Worimi/Biripi man from the mid-north coast of NSW, offer a contemporary artistic interpretation of the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788 and its continuing legacy.

'Day of Mourning' Aboriginal meeting on 26 January 1938 at Australian Hall, Sydney, NSW
First Nations

Day of Mourning

January 26 has long been a day of debate and civic action. Those who celebrate may be surprised of the date’s significance in NSW as a protest to the celebrations of the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet on what was then “Anniversary Day” in NSW

Close up view of Steven Russel and Phyllis Stewart 'Untitled (woven Sydney Opera House)', 2023 - The People's House marketing & installation photoshoot - The People's House marketing & installation photoshoot
First Nations

How to weave an opera house

Inspired by a stunning shellworked model of the Sydney Opera House by Bidjigal artist Esme Timbery, First Nations curator Tess Allas commissioned a woven model of the iconic building from master weavers Steven Russell and Phyllis Stewart

Campaign photos for Cutter and Coota, featuring a performer dressed in a possum skin cloak posing within the grounds of the Hyde Park Barracks.

Cutter and Coota: a children’s play by Bruce Pascoe

Meet author and historian Bruce Pascoe and the main characters from his play Cutter and Coota as they reflect on the play’s themes and the experience of performing at the Hyde Park Barracks

Sergeant Tracker Alexander ‘Alec’ Riley wearing his police uniform

Alexander Riley, legendary Aboriginal police tracker

The remarkable talents of Aboriginal trackers who worked for NSW Police in the 20th century are featured in a display at the Justice & Police Museum