Aboriginal Heritage Study for the Woollahra Municipality

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Aboriginal Heritage Study for the Woollahra Municipality
    Local history

Published 2 February 2022

Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage Study

Woollahra has a long and rich Aboriginal heritage which continues to be valued by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people today. Traces of that heritage can be found throughout Woollahra but are often unrecognised and unacknowledged. Our Community Strategic Plan Woollahra – 2030: Our community, our place, our plan presents a long-term vision for Woollahra. Reconciliation through acknowledging, researching and sharing the area’s Aboriginal history and heritage of Woollahra is a significant component of Council’s goals to have a ‘creative and vibrant community’ and to ‘have a connected, harmonious and engaged community.’

Woollahra Council engaged Aboriginal Heritage Consultants Coast History & Heritage to work closely with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council in undertaking an Aboriginal Heritage Study for the Woollahra Municipality.

The study provided Council with a much better understanding of the Aboriginal history and heritage of Woollahra; where traces of that history were known, and where others were likely to be. It also provided Council with a recommended strategy for managing known and undocumented Aboriginal heritage. This will influence management of future development in the LGA and promote greater awareness of local Aboriginal heritage in the community and across Council in a culturally appropriate manner.

The consultant team includes historian and archaeologist Dr Paul Irish researched the Aboriginal history of the eastern suburbs for his 2017 book Hidden In Plain View: The Aboriginal People of Coastal Sydney.

The Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage Study was endorsed by Council on 26 July 2021.

Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage Talks

During the study we ran a series of online talks on the Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage, which  were undertaken by Coast History & Heritage and the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council.

The first talk, held on Tuesday 13 October 2020, included presentations by historian and archaeologist, Dr Paul Irish of Coast History & Heritage, and Council’s Strategic Heritage Officer, Flavia Scardamaglia. This talk explored Dr Irish’s research on both ancient and continuing Aboriginal connections in the Woollahra area. Ms Scardamaglia also provided an overview of the Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage Study and Council’s ongoing collaboration with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Coast History & Heritage.

The second talk, held on 3 December 2020 by the Gujaga Foundation at La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Dr Paul Irish, explored the ways that Aboriginal people identified with Country across coastal Sydney and how these connections were maintained in colonial Sydney.

The third talk, held on Tuesday 26 October, 2021 included presentations by historian and archaeologist, Dr Paul Irish of Coast History & Heritage, and Council’s Strategic Heritage Officer, Flavia Scardamaglia. This talk explored Dr Irish’s research on both ancient and continuing Aboriginal connections in the Woollahra area. Ms Scardamaglia also provided an overview of the Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage Study and Council’s ongoing collaboration with the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and Coast History & Heritage.

Thank you to everyone who attended.

You can contact Strategic Heritage Officer Flavia Scardamaglia via email for further information.

Award Winner

A huge congratulations to Woollahra Council Strategic Planning Team and project lead Flavia Scardamaglia who have won the Aboriginal Heritage category in the National Trust NSW 2022 Heritage Awards for the Woollahra Aboriginal Heritage Study, announced on 13 May.

With the advice, support and guidance of Dr Paul Irish of Coast History and Heritage and the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, we hope the Study will continue to promote greater local awareness and appreciation of Aboriginal heritage.


Dr Paul Irish with Noeleen Timbery from LPLALC

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