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20 May 2021

Guriwal Trail new arts and culture installation officially opened

A new Aboriginal arts and culture installation at Centennial Park is now open to the public after being officially opened by MP Rob Stokes on Friday, 14 May 2021.

Since 1998, the Guriwal Trail has welcome thousands of visitors to the natural beauty that our First Nations people have enjoyed for thousands of years. Now, the Park’s 31 million visitors a year can gain a deeper understanding of the importance of this land, thanks to a new arts and culture installation.

The installation, a series of signs and sculptures as well as a virtual tour, explains the connection between flora and fauna that for centuries, has provided local Aboriginal people with food, medicine, resources and knowledge.

Bidjigal Elder, Uncle Vic Simms, opened the installation with a smoking ceremony.

Pictured above: Bidjigal​ Elder, Uncle Vic Simms

“This is yours as well as our land, we welcome you to walk this land with us. It’s a place of learning and sharing,” said Uncle Vic.

Shannon Foster, a D’harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper and artist, designed the installation, as well as a virtual tour.

“We chose a water-themed narrative that captures the essence of Centennial Park’s natural history, a place where a freshwater spring feeds a series of ponds that flow into the nearby ocean,” Ms Foster said.

 “I want people to know how magical country is. About how country is all that we need. Country can provide our food, our medicines, our resources…everything. And we’ve been doing this now for thousands and thousands of years.”

Pictured above: (from left to right) MP Rob Stokes, Dharawal Knowledge Keeper and artist Shannon Foster, Deb Lennis (Guriwal Aboriginal Corporation), Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, GSP Chairman Michael Rose, GSP Chief Executive Suellen Fitzgerald and Bidjigal​ Elder, Uncle Vic Simms

Suellen Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Greater Sydney Parklands, said that the bushland surrounding the installation had undergone significant regeneration.

“In the last five years, volunteers have dedicated more than 6,000 hours of weeding and planting to ensure the site reflects the natural beauty of its ancient history,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“The Guriwal Trail has something for everyone; for little children, school groups, families and adults. All of us can come here and learn a huge amount about how First Nations people used this part of the country. It’s got a very strong caring for country theme, which is a key objective of Greater Sydney Parklands - to bring First Nations' stories to the community.”

Pictured above: young children exploring the Guriwal Trail

“What we’re seeing today is a new way of interpreting the Guriwal Trail with a whole series of 12 new installations to help us understand the bushland a little bit more from particularly using indigenous knowledge,” said Minister for Planning and Public Places, Rob Stokes.

Special thanks to the City of Sydney, Rotary Sydney and our Centennial Parklands’ volunteers for your exceptional support.

Discover more about Guriwal Bush Tucker Trail virtual tour.

For more information about joining our volunteer team, including current programs, read here.

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