Ancient Country and Culture

david_king_03_-_David_Hill.jpegPhoto: David Hill

By Ellen Hill

The ancient culture of Darug and Gundungurra Country lies deeper than the Blue Mountains’ world famous attractions, but it’s right there to experience for those who want to go beyond the tourist trail.

Gundungurra knowledge keeper and Elder Uncle David King (Dingo Darbo) says: “Sharing Culture and Country is a beautiful way we can come together and learn how we can all do our bit to care for this precious landscape – and each other.”

A member of the Gundungurra Aboriginal Heritage Association Incorporated and a Gully traditional owner, Uncle David is a passionate advocate for Indigenous culture and land management, a well-known educator and Blue Mountains bush, land and swamp carer.

He mainly works with traditional custodians conducting walks and talks @dingodarbo and has also worked as a Discovery Ranger at National Parks & Wildlife Services and is the Indigenous engagement officer at Scenic World.

“So… Yadhung Buurral! Biimbiigang. G’day! Greetings. “Check out a couple of these excellent Indigenous experiences.”

The Gully Walk

Gates Rd, Katoomba (easy). The free 1km walk is at Garguree (The Gully), also known as the Katoomba Falls Creek Valley. It is an ecologically and culturally sensitive place used by Gundungurra and Darug peoples as a Summer camp before European settlement. It was then used as a motor racing track, along which you can wander into the heart of The Gully, learning Culture and history from interpretative boards along the way. This is a partnership project between The Gully Traditional Owners and Blue Mountains City Council.

Bilingarra Indigenous Art & Culture

1006 Great Western Hwy, Bowenfels. The gallery founded by Wiradjuri-born Indigenous artist Brett Groves, is a cultural space in which to retell the truth of Indigenous history. Brett connects you to Country and Culture through art, homewares and clothing, workshops and storytelling available in person and online.

Gundungurra Country Experience

Scenic World, Katoomba. Developed by Uncle David King, you will learn about local Dreamtime stories, native flora and fauna, lore and bush tucker on a 90-minute interactive intimate (up to 12 people) guided tour. Buunyal (Sun) tickets will be available in limited sessions from mid-January. Bookings from December 15: (tickets include unlimited access to all rides).

National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) Indigenous Discovery Rangers

NPWS manages most of the Blue Mountains bushland areas and operates several opportunities to engage in Aboriginal culture.

Exploring Aboriginal art group workshop: Discover the importance of art in creating and sharing stories in Aboriginal culture along with traditional and contemporary Aboriginal art, symbols, and storytelling and create your own artworks. Details: /guided-tours/exploring-aboriginal-art-group-workshop

Corporate Aboriginal cultural experience: Held in conference rooms, at Blue Mountains Heritage Centre or as part of a bushwalk, it includes a smoking ceremony or Acknowledgement of Country, with the option to learn more about Culture. Details:

School holiday Aboriginal games for kids (Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, Govetts Leap Rd, Blackheath). An experienced NPWS Aboriginal guide will teach games from across Country that include problem-solving ball games, and team sports. Details:

Red Hands Cave, Glenbrook (partially affected by closures). Believed to have been painted between 500 and 1600 years ago, this is one of the best examples of Aboriginal art in the Blue Mountains. You can also see Aboriginal axe grinding grooves in rocks nearby. Check website for reopening dates:

Jenolan Caves Indigenous Interpretation

Located in the lands of the Burra Burra people (a clan group of the Gundungurra Nation), Jenolan Caves offers guided tours.

Kew-Y-Ahn Aboriginal Art Gallery

Hartley Historic Site. Exhibiting work of Aboriginal artists from the Central West region of NSW, the gallery represents and sells work by painters, printers, weavers, designers, jewellers and photographers. It was established in 2013 as a partnership between regional art development organisation Arts OutWest, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and the NSW Department of Environment and Heritage.

Blue Mountains City Council (BMCC)

The council manages the residential and commercial lands and some bush areas of Ngurra (Country) of the Darug and Gundungurra peoples and acknowledges them as traditional owners of the region. Among other activities, BMCC has established an Aboriginal Advisory and strategic plan, hosts NIADOC Week in July and practices cultural burning. Learn more here:

Experience the Wonder at Scenic World
A Sweet Sensation


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