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Aboriginal Culture in Perth & WA

Stretching back more than 50,000 years, Indigenous culture is central to  Western Australia’s history, present and future. There are so many ways to explore WA’s diverse Indigenous heritage. Whether you’re looking for a taste of bush tucker, or to feast your eyes on aboriginal art, the oldest surviving culture in the world has never been more accessible.

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Indigenous theatre, music and dance festivals take place across the year, featuring performances which bring together the traditional and the modern.

NAIDOC week in July is the perfect time of year to immerse yourself in the richness of Aboriginal culture. One of the most significant events on the cultural calendar, it celebrates Indigenous language, arts, history and culture.

All year around, art lovers can head to one of the many Indigenous art exhibitions on the calendar, or if you prefer the great outdoors why not take in incredible ancient rock art where it was created? The rock art of the Kimberley and Pilbara are set in stunning landscape and have survived an ice age.

Dotted across the state, guided tours provide an in-depth look at Aboriginal ancestral practices and stories. Traditional owners share their customs, medicines and bush tucker, as well as showcasing their country, where countless generations of Indigenous people have survived and thrived for thousands of years.

 

 

Here you can learn hunting and fishing practices, and traditional ways of cooking bush tucker. And don’t forget, if you are looking for Aboriginal owned and operated eco-lodges, hotels and safari camps, you can search them here.

 

Latest News

The Indigenous stars behind Macbeth in Noongar

The Indigenous stars behind Macbeth in Noongar

Yirra Yaakin’s eagerly anticipated alternative production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is set to kick off on February 5 as part of...
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World first: Yirra Yaakin presents Macbeth performed in Noongar

World first: Yirra Yaakin presents Macbeth performed in Noongar

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Our Land, Our Place celebrates Aboriginal artists from across WA

Our Land, Our Place celebrates Aboriginal artists from across WA

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Hip hop legends stand tall on the big issues

Hip hop legends stand tall on the big issues

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Open-air galleries: incredible rock art of WA

Open-air galleries: incredible rock art of WA

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Tura’s residency program supports young musicians at Fitzroy Crossing

Tura’s residency program supports young musicians at Fitzroy Crossing

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Where to try bush tucker across WA

Where to try bush tucker across WA

If you’re a lover of Aboriginal art and culture, there has never been a better time to extend that experience...
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Guides


Hecate

In a world where the Noongar language is spoken by all, a yarn about a Scottish king is retold.

  • Dates:Feb 5 - 16
  • Time(s):Tue – Fri 7.30pm | Sat 8 Feb 2pm | Sat 15 Feb 2pm & 7.30pm | Sun 6pm
  • Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Hosted By:Perth Festival
  • Venue Address:Subiaco Arts Centre, 180 Hamersley Rd, Subiaco WA 6008
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Performing Arts
  • Audience:Adults,Family-Friendly,For kids 4-12,For teens 13-17,For seniors
  • Event Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre
  • Performing Arts:Theatre
  • Ticket Price FROM:$25
  • Ticket price TO:$69
  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin

Description

'Great business must be wrought ‘ere … boodjar baal waaliny.'

Hecate, queen of the witches, is usually omitted from productions of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Here, she is at the heart of everything, watching as Macbeth strives toward power at any cost, all the while knowing that order must be restored; that Country always trumps human ambition and greed.

In 1833 colonist Robert Menli Lyon wrote in reference to Noongar people that ‘the whole of each tribe are bards’. This world premiere event puts those words to the test. Having spent years studying and reclaiming their endangered Noongar language, a star ensemble use this audacious adaptation as a springboard to showcase its poetic and expressive qualities.

Join us for Australia's first large-scale Shakespeare production entirely in Noongar language, the original language of the south west of Western Australia, as conceived by Kyle J Morrison. Adapted and directed by Kylie Bracknell [Kaarljilba Kaardn]. 

A post-show Q&A will take place after the show on Feb 11 and a schools performance will take place on Feb 12.

Hecate is presented by Yirra Yaakin Theatry Company, Bell Shakespeare and Perth Festival. 

Ord Valley Muster

A festival of music, art and culture in the Kimberley.

  • Dates:May 15 - 24
  • Venue:Kununurra
  • Festivals:All Festivals,Ord Valley Muster

Details

  • Hosted By:Ord Valley Muster
  • Venue Address:Jim Hughes Amphitheatre, Kununurra WA 6743
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Festivals,Food & drink,Music,Performing Arts,Sports,Travel
  • Audience:Adults,Family-Friendly
  • Event Venue:Ord Valley Muster Festival Hub

Description

Through a diverse calendar packed with exciting events & experiences (rodeo, dining under the stars, music, yoga boats, comedy and more) to the the local characters & flavour that make Kununurra and the East Kimberley one of the most iconic destinations in the world, the Muster is a truly enthralling, enchanting and magical experience for all.

From humble beginnings in 2001, the Argyle Diamonds Ord Valley Muster came to life quietly as a simple one night affair – a pleasant dinner in the outback for local businesses. Since then it has grown at lightning speed to be firmly established as a pre-eminent event in the national festival calendar,being a 3 time Hall of Fame Inductee (2017-2011-2008) at the WA Tourism Awards as well as being officially recognised as the Best Regional Event in Australia at the 2015 Australian Event Awards to name but a few notches of the Muster’s belt.

There are a range of amazing Land or Air Travel Packages available to help get you here starting at $405*pp (t&c’s apply), so you have no excuse to tick this one off your travel, foodie, adventure or 4×4 bucket lists…

The Muster’s major draw-card, the ‘Kimberley Moon Experience’ continues, deservedly so, to receive international attention and acclaim. Staged at the Jim Hughes Amphitheatre on the banks of the Majestic Ord River, the ‘Kimberley Moon Experience’ is attended by celebrities, politicians and business leaders alike. Attracting over 5000 patrons, including 625 guests enjoying a 5 star concert and dining experience within the Kimberley Fine Diamonds Dinner, this truly is a unique and unforgettable experience – a place where city and country folk meet, mingle and dance under the stars.

Hecate Kambarnap

Kwop Noongar maia waangkiny nitja. Kaarl-booyi nyinalangainy. Celebrate Noongar language thriving on Noongar Boodjar.

  • Dates:Feb 5 - Feb 16
  • Time(s):Before and After 'Hecate'
  • Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre Gardens
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Hosted By:Perth Festival
  • Venue Address:Subiaco Arts Centre Gardens, 180 Hamersley Rd, Subiaco WA 6008
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Free,Aboriginal Art & Events
  • Audience:Adults,Family-Friendly,For kids 4-12,For teens 13-17,For seniors
  • Event Venue:Subiaco Arts Centre
  • Produced By:Yirra Yaakin

Description

Before and after seeing Hecate you are invited to Hecate Kambarnap, a unique gathering space to celebrate Noongar people and the maintenance and care of the Noongar language as it pulses through the bedrock of our Country. Noongar language is rarely spoken fluently, and language revival is vital to healing and strengthening our community.

Hecate Kambarnap offers a cleansing smoking for those who wish to gather and honour the ancient Noongar sounds, stories and speakers. 

Bran Nue Dae

Set on the road trip of a lifetime with a runaway teenager, two hippies, a wily Uncle and a German priest. By the time you shake the red dust from your feet, you’ll know what it means to come home.

  • Dates:Feb 6 - 9, Feb 11 - 15
  • Time(s):Tue, Thu & Fri 7.30pm | Wed 1pm & 7.30pm | Sat 2pm & 7.30pm | Sun 5pm
  • Venue:Regal Theatre
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Hosted By:Perth Festival
  • Venue Address:Regal Theatre, 474 Hay St, Subiaco WA 6008
  • Ticket Price FROM:$49
  • Ticket price TO:$99
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Music,Performing Arts
  • Audience:Adults,For teens 13-17,For seniors,Wheelchair Access
  • Event Venue:Regal Theatre
  • Performing Arts:Musicals
  • Music:Opera

Description

Jimmy Chi’s coming-of-age musical comedy Bran Nue Dae is an exuberant ride through 1960s Western Australia packed with humour and hope.

This trail-blazing Aboriginal musical celebrates family, forgiveness and reconciliation with a feel-good mash-up of rock-and-roll, gospel, country, blues and Broome saltwater music. Returning to the Perth Festival stage 30 years after its sparkling 1990 debut, this brand-new production is a story for all Australians.

Bunggul

Experience the ceremony Bunggul, where traditional dance, song, and rituals meet.

  • Dates:Feb 7 - 9
  • Time(s):Feb 7 & 8: 7:00pm; Feb 9: 6:30pm
  • Venue:Perth Concert Hall
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Hosted By:Perth Concert Hall
  • Venue Address:5 St Georges Terrace, Perth WA 6000
  • Ticket Price FROM:$25
  • Ticket price TO:$99
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Music,Performing Arts
  • Audience:Family-Friendly
  • Event Venue:Perth Concert Hall

Description

Yolngu don’t have books or computers. They carry it here (in the heart) in their song, their dance, their paintings.  – Don Wininba Ganambarr

A Bunggul is a ceremony, a gathering ground: A meeting place of dance, song and ritual.

Created on country in North East Arnhem Land with the Yunupingu family, Bunggul is a ceremonial celebration of one of the transcendent albums of our time. A production of immense Yolngu spirit, it invites us to experience the traditional songs, dances and paintings that inspired Gurrumul’s final album, Djarrimirri (Child of the Rainbow), in a live performance by Yolngu dancers, Songmen and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.

Just as Gurrumul’s music opened a doorway into Yolngu culture, Bunggul is an invitation to further experience the depth, strength, beauty of his world.

Spinifex Gum

Celebrate the passion and talent of our Indigenous youth with Spinifex Gum.

  • Dates:Feb 8
  • Time(s):8.00pm
  • Venue:Chevron Lighthouse
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Ticket Price:$39
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Music
  • Audience:Adults

Description

Marliya – an ensemble of Aboriginal and Torres Strait teenage singers – come together with The Cat Empire’s Felix Riebl and Ollie McGill and special guest artists for a powerful collaboration of voice, sound, movement and change.

Lush choral vocals performed with exuberant energy blend with hard-hitting urban rhythms and uncompromising lyrics for a fresh sound that is built from the ancient culture of the Pilbara but is totally the music of today. Don’t miss this topical and inspiring all-Australian gig.

Ngaiire + Emma Donovan & The Putbacks

When these two stunning divas come together at Chevron Lighthouse you can expect an evening of euphoric soul.

  • Dates:Feb 9
  • Time(s):7.30pm
  • Venue:Chevron Lighthouse
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Ticket Price:$39
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Music
  • Audience:Adults
  • Music:Gig Guide

Description

A beacon of future soul and vocal prowess, Papua New Guinea-born Ngaiire is charismatic, flamboyant and mesmerising. With lashings of pop and electronica underpinning her soulful strides, it is her astonishing voice that truly mesmerises. An artist that teases the mainstream, Ngaiire is uncompromisingly creative, bold and adventurous in her expression from extravagant costumes to choreographed dances and backing vocalist battles.

Gumbaynggirr/Yamtji singer and songwriter Emma Donovan is an impassioned and bruisingly honest artist with a penchant for earthy grooves. Melbourne’s funk- fuelled five-piece The Putbacks are stone cold pros, grizzled veterans of all the tours and all the studios.

Their shared love for classic US soul and the protest music of Indigenous Australia brought them together with Donovan and their collaboration has won admirers all around the world.

Bruce Pascoe: A Conversation About Ingenuity

Bruce Pascoe, acclaimed author of Dark Emu and Salt, kicks off the Literature & Ideas Weekend 2020 in a conversation with Noongar academic and musician Dr Clint Bracknell.

  • Dates:Feb 21
  • Time(s):7pm
  • Venue:Octagon Theatre
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Hosted By:Perth Festival
  • Venue Address:35 Stirling Hwy, Crawley WA 6009
  • Ticket Price:$39
  • Type:Author Talks,Literature,Talks & Lectures,Aboriginal Art & Events
  • Audience:Adults
  • Event Venue:Octagon Theatre

Description

‘The reason for the national apathy to racial politics in this country stems, I believe, from the national ignorance of Aboriginal culture and economy, and that ignorance has to be laid in part at the feet of our learning institutions. A legion of professors and other academics at our universities decided it would be unnecessary for our golden youth to know what the explorers witnessed of Aboriginal excellence.’ Bruce Pascoe, Salt

Weyes Blood

Dark, mystical and ferociously tender, Weyes Blood is an indie charmer.

  • Dates:Feb 23
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Ticket Price:$39
  • Type:Music,Aboriginal Art & Events
  • Audience:Adults
  • Music:Gig Guide

Description

Her lilting melodies and complex harmonies will have you drowning in sound as she meshes electronic burbles with the golden age of pop in a delicate but powerful fusion. With a voice of old-school beauty, at times conjuring Karen Carpenter or Carole King, this ‘millennial Joni Mitchell’ spins a web of blissful vintage pop to leave you breathless.

Aboriginal Performance Cohort Showcase 2020

An end-of-year performance from WAAPA's Aboriginal Performance cohort that celebrates the tradition and heritage of Australia's Indigenous people.

  • Dates:Nov 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 18 & 19
  • Time(s):7.30pm
  • Venue:Enright Studio

Details

  • Hosted By:Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
  • Venue Address:2 Bradford St, Mount Lawley WA 6050
  • Ticket Price FROM:$23
  • Ticket price TO:$30
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Performing Arts
  • Audience:Adults,Family-Friendly
  • Produced By:WAAPA: WA Academy of Performing Arts
  • Event Venue:Enright Studio
  • Performing Arts:Theatre

Description

Join us in celebrating the talents of WAAPA’s 2020 Aboriginal Performance cohort, as they take to the stage in the end-of-year public performance that marks the finale to their year of training. A showcase for their acting and performance skills, this dramatic work demonstrates contemporary Indigenous performance and culture as we applaud the achievements of the 2020 ensemble.

 

Yagan Square Nyumbi

Experience the world’s oldest living culture through music and dance.

  • Dates:Every Friday from 24 January to 26 June 2020
  • Time(s):Commences at 5.30pm. Concludes at 6.15pm
  • Venue:Yagan Square Amphitheatre

Details

  • Hosted By:DevelopmentWA
  • Venue Address:Corner Wellington and William Street Perth
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Youth Art / Performance
  • Audience:LGBTI,Adults,Family-Friendly,For toddlers 0-3,For kids 4-12,For teens 13-17,For seniors,Wheelchair Access
  • Event Venue:Yagan Square
  • Performing Arts:Dance

Description

Immerse yourself in Western Australia's Noongar culture as Aboriginal dancers perform traditional song and dance and share stories of our rich culture and history.

Visit the Yagan Square amphitheatre to enjoy free Aboriginal performances every Friday evening.

 

Aboriginal Family History Sessions

Join State Library staff from the Storylines program to learn more about Aboriginal family history resources.

  • Dates:29 January, 26 February, 25 March 2020
  • Time(s):3:30pm - 6:30pm

Details

  • Hosted By:State Library of WA
  • Venue Address:25 Francis Street, Perth WA 6000
  • Ticket Price:Free
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events
  • Audience:LGBTI,Adults,For teens 13-17,For seniors,Wheelchair Access
  • Produced By:State Library of WA
  • Event Venue:State Library of WA

Description

Join State Library staff from the Storylines program to learn more about Aboriginal family history resources in the J.S. Battye Library of West Australian History. Discover some of the key resources for Aboriginal family history and explore the Storylines online platform.

FREE. To reserve your place call 08 9427 3111 or email [email protected]

Image: Grace Richards, Mavis Simms, Anna Porter, Nancy West (later Fox) and Esther Green at Warburton Range Mission, 1953. Catalogue number: 274262PD

The Australian Dream | Cottesloe Film Festival

Enjoy delicious food, licensed bars and a special performance from the Madjitil Moorna Choir, while watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean. Then relax under the stars for an awardwinning feature.

  • Dates:Sunday 2 February 2020
  • Time(s):Gates open at 5pm. Film starts at 730pm.
  • Venue:Cottesloe Civic Centre

Details

  • Hosted By:Cottesloe Film Festival
  • Venue Address:Cottesloe Civic Centre, Napier St Cottesloe
  • Ticket Price:$15 Kids & Seniors | $24 Adults
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Film
  • Audience:Adults,For teens 13-17,For seniors,Wheelchair Access
  • Film:Outdoor Films

Description

with Madjitil Moorna Choir

WINNER - 2019 BEST DOCUMENTARY AACTA AWARD
WINNER - 2019 WALKLEY DOCUMENTARY AWARD
WINNER - PEOPLE’S CHOICE BEST DOCUMENTARY, MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2019

Written by Stan Grant, THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM tells the remarkable and inspirational story of AFL legend Adam Goodes.

THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM (MA15+) – SUNDAY 2 FEBRUARY
Genre: Documentary
Directed by: Daniel Gordon
Cast: Adam Goodes, Stan Grant, Nova Peris, Nicky Winmar, Paul Roos, John Longmire, Nathan Buckley, Eddie McGuire and Andrew Bolt
Runtime: 105 mins
Country of Origin: Australia
Language: English
Trailer: https://youtu.be/zRJkLgl56jk

From shy country kid to two-time Brownlow medallist and Australian of the Year, Goodes is an inspiration to many. The footy field was where he thrived; the only place where the colour of his skin was irrelevant. Goodes’ world fell apart when he became the target of racial abuse during a game, which spiralled into public backlash against him. He spoke out about racism when Australia was not ready to hear the ugly truth, retiring quietly from AFL heartbroken.

THE AUSTRALIAN DREAM is a deeply personal and comprehensive exploration of Goodes’ own journey which saw him retreat from everyday life only to return determined to rise above the ugliness he had been forced to confront.

The Australian Dream is something people reach for and many people obtain, but there’s an emptiness at the heart of it because Australia has not resolved the questions of its history. If the Australian Dream is rooted in racism, what can be done to redefine it for the next generation?

In My Blood It Runs | Lotterywest Films

A viewing of 'In my Blood it Runs' at UWA Somerville for Perth Festival

  • Dates:Feb 3-9
  • Time(s):8pm
  • Venue:UWA Somerville
  • Festivals:Perth Festival 2020

Details

  • Hosted By:Lotterywest Films
  • Venue Address:The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, WA, 6009
  • Ticket Price FROM:$10
  • Ticket price TO:$19
  • Type:Film,Aboriginal Art & Events
  • Audience:Adults
  • Event Venue:UWA Somerville
  • Film:Outdoor Films

Description

Dujuan is an inquisitive ten-year-old Arrernte/Garrwa boy who speaks three languages, understands his Aboriginal culture, loves his country in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and the natural world. As he struggles at a mainstream school not equipped to appreciate Indigenous knowledge and faces increasing scrutiny from welfare and police, his family battle to keep him safe, grounded in language, culture and identity. Thoughtful, passionate and deeply illuminating, Maya Newell’s essential new documentary is a must for all who care about Australia’s shared future.  

Arrernte and English with English subtitles 

There will be a post-screening Q&A on Feb 7 & 8. 

‘A wholly original and impactful look at growing up Indigenous in Australia today.’  THE GATE

 

 

The Wives of Wolfgang

After a sold out season at Brisbane Powerhouse, 'The Wives of Wolfgang' brings its sexy, charming and darkly funny cabaret to Perth.

  • Time(s):9:40pm to 10:30pm
  • Venue:Chemistry at Girls School
  • Festivals:Fringe Festival

Details

  • Hosted By:Backyard Theatre Collective
  • Ticket Price FROM:$20.00
  • Ticket price TO:$29.00
  • Type:Aboriginal Art & Events,Music,Performing Arts
  • Audience:Adults
  • Event Venue:Girls School
  • Performing Arts:Cabaret

Description

Dear Friends, Family, Acquaintances & Perfect Strangers, we must inform you of the death of Wolfgang. Survived by his wife, we pray his soul will rest, somewhat, in peace. After a sold-out season at Brisbane Powerhouse, 'The Wives of Wolfgang' brings its sexy, charming and darkly funny cabaret to FRINGE WORLD. Featuring original music & accompanied by electric guitar, it explores lust, lovers, grief & wine. Written by Queensland Premier's Drama Award finalist Hannah Belanszky, it's like 'The Stepford Wives' meets 'Chicago'.

"I was unable to stop myself from grooving along to each and every marvellous musical number" Downstage Discernments.

"The crowd loved the show and gave rapturous applause. I heard a woman behind me gasp, 'THAT WAS AMAZING' as the cast took their bows" Weekend Notes.

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