Respecting the cultural footprint of UNSW, increasing the physical presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture on campus and supporting cultural practices & events.

Smoking Ceremony UNSW

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have maintained connections to their traditional lands and territories for thousands of years.

This connection to Country is a crucial element of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures which dates back at least 60,000 years and continues to have an important place in Australian society today.

Although Australia is considered a single continent, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures have developed into many different nations, with distinct languages, cultures and belief systems.

The history of UNSW Sydney is linked to a long and rich history of Aboriginal occupation. Aboriginal peoples survived many generations in the sand dunes that lie under the Kensington campus by adapting to the changing environment and creating new technologies, which is evident from archaeological excavations.

Opening Ceremony of the Esme Timbery Creative Practice Lab UNSW

One of the commitments outlined in the UNSW Indigenous Strategy is to commission anthropological and historical studies of UNSW campuses. It is imperative that our students and staff are made aware of the fascinating history and story of the UNSW campuses and linkages to current Aboriginal communities.

Cultural awareness includes working with the Estate Management division of UNSW to ensure the cultural footprint of the campuses is made prominent. In 2019, UNSW opened the new Esme Timbery Creative Practice Lab, named after respected La Perouse Elder and artist. 

In recognising and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, events held annually include The Annual Indigenous Big Day Out which showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, culture, music, poets and comedians. Additionally, UNSW Indigenous research projects are undertaken as a strong commitment to supporting the Indigenous community.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor Indigenous and Nura Gili (Indigenous Programs Unit) websites also provide important information such as a FAQs for the New South Wales community as well as addressing the Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country.