Carved thousands of years ago into the landscape of the Vaucluse Estate are a range of ceremonial engravings depicting the southern migration of whales. These engravings not only tell a unique story about Aboriginal connections to Country but in recent times a story of cultural change as colonial occupation isolated these ceremonial places from Gadigal.

The annual Whale Festival encourages you to participate in a journey fostering relationships between Gadigal and Sydney Living Museums to preserve, interpret and share this heritage.

The annual migration of Gawura, the Eora word for whale, signifies revitalisation and the birth of a new generation as the whales return to Guru, the deep waters of the southern seas.  As part of the Sydney Living Museum’s Aboriginal Cultural Calendar, the Whale Festival hopes to reconnect country and people and reveal the enduring Aboriginal narratives of the Vaucluse Estate.

On the beach paddock the whale’s significance will be revealed by performances from Ngaran Ngaran and Djaadjawan Dancers. Head up the hill to uncover cultural connections as you venture through Vaucluse House. Join Aunty Phylis in the creation of a collaborative shellwork to celebrate the journey of the whale. Visitors are invited to explore middens, experience an Aboriginal cultural cook up versus the colonial ‘pot luck’ stew and venture into Vaucluse House. Bring a blanket and spend the day exploring Aboriginal culture connected to the Vaucluse Estate.


Fred will be on the Carriage Loop throughout the day and he will be demonstrating a cultural cook-up of some local fish, wrapped in gymea lily leave and paperbark.  The local fish provide a cultural connection to the harbour for the local Birrabirragal, Eora People. 

Fred's Bush Tucker lunch will also available for purchase.


When: Sunday 23 October 2016

Time: 10:00am - 4:00pm

Where: Vaucluse House, Wentworth Road, Vaucluse, NSW, 2030