Visitors to the Canberra region can always learn, share and participate in indigenous experiences and see exceptional collections of Australian Indigenous art, history and culture.

According to the National Museum of Australia’s Senior Curator (Indigenous) Margo Neale, the Australian capital’s attractions highlight the rich and diverse history through its collections.

“Canberra is fortunate to be able to offer visitors a whole range of attractions that tell the story of Indigenous Australia, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia, and history, story, customs and our amazing contribution to the Australian heritage,” said Ms Neale.

“The National Museum of Australia shows and tells 60,000 plus years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, in fact a continuous culture on this continent for that period of time. And we do it from artefact to art, from protocols to politics. We do it through every kind of object and story that is conceivable.

The National Museum of Australia showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history on a permanent basis through the First Australians: Gallery of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples gallery, the largest gallery at the Museum.

The Museum has also recently launched a First Australians Indigenous Tour, where you can take a guided journey through the First Australians gallery and be welcomed by the local Ngunawal, Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples. Using digital interactives and sensory displays you will hear stories of the local landscape and appreciate the diversity of communities and the enduring attachments to the country.

The First Australians Gallery at the National Museum of Australia, Canberra
The First Australians Gallery at the National Museum of Australia. Image: Adam McGrath, Hcreations

The National Gallery of Australia’s Head of Learning and Access Katie Russell revealed more about Canberra’s rich Indigenous offering.

“The Gallery has the finest and most comprehensive Indigenous Australian Art Collection in the world. And the NGA is the only gallery to have a whole wing devoted to Indigenous art in the world,” said Ms. Russell.

“The National Gallery can demonstrate, in great depth, the largest continuing tradition of art in the world through what’s on display in our galleries. The first thing you see when you come into the National Gallery is a major statement by a group of Indigenous artists from the north, and it’s called the Aboriginal Memorial, and it’s something you can’t miss when you visit Canberra,” Ms Russell continued.

The National Gallery of Australia (NGA) today launches a new Indigenous Cultural Tour which will be an ongoing offering. The 90-minute experience will take visitors on a journey through the picturesque gardens of the NGA with a local Aboriginal tour guide, sharing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through welcome to country, bush tucker foraging, smoking ceremony, didgeridoo performance, and art and craft participatory practice.

Visitors to Canberra can also view the largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection in the world at the NGA, including comprehensive collections of works by many of the most significant indigenous artists in the world.

The Aboriginal Memorial (1987-88) at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
The Aboriginal Memorial (1987-88) at the National Gallery of Australia consists of 200 hollow log coffins made by indigenous artists from central Arnhem Land.

The Museum of Australian Democracy features a permanent exhibition launched in 2017 to mark the anniversary of the 1967 referendum. The Yes: The Ongoing Story of the 1967 Referendum exhibition provides context around the significance of the referendum throughout history, and what it means to Australians today.

To experience indigenous culture and history in the outdoors, Dharwra Aboriginal Cultural Tours run a range of tours including two-hour tours to Mount Majura, Mount Taylor, Black Mountain or Yass, as well as half day tours of the Canberra region and seasonal (September to March) full day tours of Flea Creek and Namadgi National Park. Highlights include Aboriginal interpretation of surrounding landscape, bush food, artefacts of traditional tools and native wildlife.

Nature lovers and culture enthusiasts alike will rejoice as they explore Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve’s various walking trails and connect to country on an Aboriginal Ranger guided activity, discovering native plants and fauna and Aboriginal culture and heritage.