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The Indigenous Culture of Sydney

Sydney, Australia is the most populated city on the Continent. The city is built near one of the world’s largest natural harbors, and “Sydneysiders” are some of the most multicultural people in the world. For at least 30,000 years, the area around Sydney has been inhabited by indigenous people.

British settlers that came to the area called hese people “Eora,” which translated literally to “from this place.” The British noted as many as 8,000 people inhabiting the area, and they were divided amongst 29 separate clans.

The Cadigal Clan lived near Port Jackson, around Sydney Cove, and they shared three principle languages amongst other tribes on the island. Island natives seemed to be nomads. They engaged in frequent camping, fishing, and they had learned to strip trees of their bark for tools and food. They also collected shells and ate fish.


Much of these old societies were washed away with the tide of modernism. There are still rock art pieces, and engravings, to be found in National Parks. Ku-ring-gai National Park features engravings at Bobbin Head, where visitors can walk fire trails to find them.

Lieutenant James Cook is credited with the first meeting of natives in April of 1770. His encounter was with the Gweagol people, and he found them to be hostile towards his crew. He dealt with the natives only a short time, collecting food and supplies, as he was commissioned on a scientific mission to study the eastern coast line of Australia.