Sydney’s Cultures

Sydney, as the capital of New South Wales and one of Australia’s largest cities, is best known for its tourist attractions like the harbor front Sydney Opera House, which has a very distinctive sail-like design, the Darling Harbour and the Circular Quay port, which are hubs for the waterside life, and the arched Harbour Bridge and popular Royal Botanic Garden – all of which are within walking distance to each other.

They are all incredibly beautiful places to visit.

But Sydney is also home to something far worthier of a visit than tourist spots. Cadigal, Eora, Gammeraigal, Guringai, Wallumedegal, and Wangal are the people who were the original inhabitants of Sydney’s shores. Because it is believed that some of them have been around for over hundred years, the Australian Aboriginal peoples are today the oldest cultures in the world.

“I came here for the people,” said Yassine, a young man who was born and raised in Morocco and who now lives in France, “I have gone on several tours so far,” he added, as he was about to go on a boat tour to visit some sites associated with the Aboriginal peoples, “I’m very happy I made the journey.”

The country’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population had reached 669,900, which amounts to about 3 per cent of the total population, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Most of them are situated in the New South Wales. However, Northern Territory, whose capital is Darwin, has the largest percentage.

If you can’t visit Australia, the second best thing is to check out a website put together by Dr. David M. Welch, who is an independent rock art researcher and book publisher.

Of course, Sydney is home to many cultures. Nearly 40 percent of Sydneysiders speak a non-English language at home and more than 250 languages are spoken around the city, with Arabic leading the pack, according to the Sydney Mornong Herald.

“I did not know that when I decided to come,” smiles Yassine, whose mother tongue is Arabic. “So, it’s a good bonus,” he laughed, as we ate at a Lebanese restaurant.

A lovely city, indeed.

AJ Paris is a New York based photographer and the author of the coffee table book Men Around the World.

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