I often get asked about the Dreamtime. But it’s not something you can easily explain.
For my people, the Dreamtime is the time when our ancestral spirits created the world. It is a time before living memory.
There are many Dreamtime stories. But we believe the creators of
our world were men and women who took the form of spirits. They created everything. The land. The sky. The people. The waterways. Even Sydney Harbour. Although the local people didn’t call it that. They called it War-an.
There is also a great spirit that watches over everything. The Eora people call this spirit, Biami.
Who are the Eora? They were the people that were living around Sydney when the white settlers came. Eora means “here” or “from this place”.
One of the clan groups that make up the Eora are the Gadigal people. They are the traditional owners of Darling Harbour. But their name for it is Tumbalong. This means a place where shellfish is found.
The harbour was really important to the local Aboriginal people. Not only as a way of getting around. But as a source of food like fish and shellfish.
In fact, there is a place in The Rocks where some archaeologists uncovered an ancient campfire that dated back to the 1400s. Part of a meal they found buried there included signs of snapper and rock oysters.
Australia’s Aboriginal culture is the oldest surviving one in the world, dating back 60,000 years. Sydney Harbour played a large part in this culture and continues to do so today.