Recognition of our Country
Out of respect for the local Indigenous Peoples, we acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we stand. We hail them as guardians. We thank them for passing this Heritage to every people since the Dreamtime. We acknowledge the wrongs done to them in the past. We seek to be partners with them in Reconciliation.
The Cadigal people
The traditional owners of the inner Sydney City region of Australia are the Cadigal people, one of 34 peoples who belong to the Eora language group. Their land south of Port son stretches from South Head to Petersham. The word Eora (sometimes spelled Iora or Iyora) simply means “here” or “from this place”. Local people used this word to describe where they came from to the British. “Eora” was then used by the British to refer to those Aboriginal people. The central Sydney region is still often referred to as “Eora Country”. The Cadigal lived along the coastal regions of the Pyrmont peninsula, then called Pirrama. It has not been determined exactly how long the Cadigal Peoples occupied the area though Archaeologists have dated Cadigal middens to some 4,500 years old, while geological evidence on the formation of the harbour suggests the Cadigal may have arrived up to 6,000 years ago.
The Cadigal were hunter gatherers who took advantage of the coastal location for food such as shellfish. They lived in family groups of up to 50 people, relationships were bound together through territory, spirituality and their own language, ‘Dharug’.
The Creation period The Dreamtime
Similar to other religions, there was a time in Aboriginal belief when things were created. This “Creation Period” was the time when the Ancestral Beings created Landforms ,such as, certain animals digging, creating lagoons or pushing up mountain ranges or the first animals and plants being made. The Aboriginal word for this Creation Period varies throughout Australia and each linguistic region has its own beliefs pertaining to that particular area. For example, it is known as Alcheringa (Aljuringa )amongst the Aranda of central Australia, as Lalai in the Kimberly,and as Nayuhyuigki amongst the Kunwinjku (Gunwinggu) east of the Kakadu national park.
Aboriginal people often interpret dreams as being the memory of things that happened during this Creation Period. Dreams are also important because they can be a time when we are transformed back into that ancestral time. This linking of dreams to the Creation period has led people to adopt the,* general term “The Dreamtime” in order to describe the time of creation in their religion.
The term “Dreamtime” in Aboriginal mythology is not really about a person having a dream,: but rather, a reference to this Creation period,
All aspects of Aboriginal culture are full of legends and beings associated with this creation period, or Dreamtime. Each tribe has many stories, often with a lesson to be learned or a moral tale, about the creation period deities, animals, plants, and other beings’ These stories are told to children, discussed around campfires, and are sung and acted out in plays and dances during the times of ceremony. When an adolescent progresses through their phases of initiation, they learn the more important, senior and secret parts of these stories, and this knowledge is reinforced by the acting-out of more secret-sacred rituals, songs; and dances.