Aboriginal History in the Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains lie to the west of Sydney, and rise up in a spectacular show of green-carpeted hills and dipping valleys filled with centuries-old culture and a permeating history. Soaring sandstone cliffs, impressive canyons, and untouched bushland create an incredible backdrop to explore the past of Australia.

For thousands of years, the Blue Mountains have been home to Aboriginal peoples, particularly the Gundungurra and Darug tribes. Even today, there are still plenty of traditional Aboriginal peoples living in the Blue Mountains, where there are now a number of cultural sites that walk visitors through the region’s rich past and share the customs and heritage of the local tribes.

The Gully

At one point in time, ‘The Gully’ was the most important landmark in the Blue Mountains for the Aboriginal tribes. It was where the Gundungurra and Darug peoples lived in the late 1800s up until 1950, when a racing circuit was built right across it. The act of installing the circuit meant hundreds of Aboriginal peoples were dispersed across the region, creating new homes and new lives in other parts of the Mountains. Today, they’ve reclaimed the site, and it has been placed under the legislation of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

Waradah Aboriginal Centre

In nearby Katoomba, the Waradah Aboriginal Centre offers visitors the chance to enjoy the traditional dances and performances that are so important to the local Aboriginal tribes. Here, there are artworks to be discovered, interactive musical performances, and the opportunity to pick up a handmade souvenir while you’re at it.

Blue Mountains Botanic Garden

The botanic garden at Mount Tomah is a pivotal part of Aboriginal life, because plants and nature are a vital aspect of the region’s history. Here, you can wander amongst a diverse collection of wild flora and fauna, visit ancient rock shelters, and marvel at the beautiful views of the coast with an Aboriginal horticulturist. This part of the Blue Mountains was a popular safe haven for many Aboriginal tribes, and it still oozes a tranquil vibe.

Rock Art

Aboriginal tribes have created communities in the Blue Mountains for thousands of years, evident in the remnants that have been etched on the natural landmarks. There are plenty of opportunities to discover the centuries-old rock art that adorns the walls of many rocks in the region. Most remarkably, perhaps, is the extremely well-preserved rock carving now known as “the flight of the Great Grey Kangaroo”, which can be found near Hawkesbury Lookout.