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First Nations

At the Sydney Opera House

The Sydney Opera House honours our First Nations by fostering a shared sense of belonging for all Australians, and we acknowledge the Gadigal, traditional custodians of Tubowgule, the land on which the Opera House stands.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following content may contain images and voices of deceased persons.

Celebrating the richness of the world’s oldest living cultures

Tubowgule, as the land on which the Opera House stands is known to its Traditional Custodians, the Gadigal, has long been a gathering place for storytelling, ceremony and culture. The Opera House continues this legacy today by embracing and celebrating the culture of Australia’s First Peoples.


 

Welcome to Country

A Welcome To Country is a customary greeting that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island people extend to visitors, who in turn agree to respect respect traditional laws and culture.


What’s On

Click here to find out more about Sydney Opera House First Nations programming.

Contemporary Music | Free

Ngaiire and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra

10 Nov 2022

Lighting up the Sydney Opera House Forecourt, multi-hyphenate First Nations R&B star Ngaiire teams up with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra for a a dazzling audio-visual performance.
First Nations | Free

Wanha! Journey to Arnhem

17 Nov 2022

Be transported to Australia’s remarkable Top End with Wanha!, and experience the Yolŋu people’s musical history and vibrant contemporary scene.
This unique Central Australian ensemble sings sacred music in ancient and living indigenous languages together with new music in an extraordinary meeting of cultures.
Experience a rainbow explosion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait LGBTQIA+ artistry, across a two-hour concert.
Join our Indigenous tour guides for an interactive digital exploration of the Indigenous history of Bennelong Point, the site on which Sydney Opera House sits.
Badu Gili

Badu Gili: Wonder Women

Every Day

Badu Gili - meaning 'water light' in the language of the traditional owners of Bennelong Point, the Gadigal people - is a free daily experience that explores First Nations stories in a spectacular six-minute projection on the Opera House’s eastern Bennelong sails.

ALWAYS HERE - 50 Years of Black Theatre

This free photographic exhibition in the Bennelong Passage recognises the pioneering activism of Redfern's National Black Theatre and the history of First Peoples on the stages and sails of the Opera House. 

FIND OUT MORE

Woven baskets by Yinarr Maramali

Yinarr Maramali: Uncovered

Showcasing artistic excellence off-stage.

READ NOW

Deadly Voices From the House

A selection of First Nations podcasts exploring intimate stories of culture, identity and community.

LISTEN NOW

Te Rua Mauri performing at Homeground 2017 on the Forecourt, Sydney Opera House

Career Development Opportunities 

The Sydney Opera House is committed to providing hands-on experiences to young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, which can lead to employment opportunities.

For further information about these career opportunities, please contact workexperience@sydneyoperahouse.com.

Work Experience Program

The best way for students to experience what we do is through our Work Experience Program. Through our partnership with the NSW Department of Education we run a program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who are studying in years 9-12. The program is a week long and is offered several times throughout the year. During the week, students are introduced to different staff and departments across the organisation. The program is practical and participants spend time working in up to four different departments to gain first-hand work experience.

Internships

After completing our Work Experience Program, students can apply for a paid internship. These internships are currently offered in our Ticketing Sales department and we are always looking to expand the types of intern roles. The internship is based on a 90 hour contract as a Ticketing Sales Representative. The hours of work are designed to fit around the student’s study, and students develop skills in sales and customer service, operating ticketing software and basic computing. We have a growing alumni of interns, many of whom have gained ongoing employment at the Opera House and are now involved in facilitating Work Experience Program activities with students.

 

Other events

Each year the Opera House supplements these two programs with events for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. Our Careers Day program is one such event where participants get to meet a range of Opera House employees to hear about what they do and stories of their career pathways.  

Work experience program participants 2017

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be great and learn more about our culture at the Opera House.”

Courtney, Work Experience Program participant, FY17

Stream, Read, Listen

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A guide to Dance Rites

Your handbook for the song and dance of Australia's ancient cultures

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Listen to Deadly Voices from the House - Podcast

A podcast that takes intimate interviews with First Nations artists and leaders to the world. Hosted by Rhoda Roberts AO.

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Eternal history: The story of First Nations theatre at the Sydney Opera House

Liza-Mare Syron traces the history of First Nations theatre at the Sydney Opera House back to the buildings very first days.

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The story of Badu Gili

Meet the Indigenous artists bringing First Nations cultures to the world.

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An Asian, an Aboriginal and an Islander take on white Australia in Nakkiah Lui's new play

In the new satire from Nakkiah Lui, Michelle Lim Davidson disarms audiences with humour to check their own racism.

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A letter from Rhoda Roberts to Dance Rites participants

Rhoda Roberts, Head of First Nations programming, welcomes participants and audiences to DANCE RITES 2020 from across Australia as we acknowledge the diverse ancestral lands, waterways and Sky country.

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How the Sydney Olympics amplified First Nations voices on and off the track

Cathy Freeman’s win was a historic triumph, but it wasn't the only watershed moment at the Sydney Olympics. Hear from Rhoda Roberts, who played a critical role behind the scenes of the 2000 games.

Dance Rites - Jannawi Dance Clan

Why NAIDOC matters

We ask some of our Opera House family – performers and artists who take centre stage during this week of celebration – to discuss this year's NAIDOC theme and to unpack why the week matters to them.

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Letters to Cook | A podcast miniseries from Deadly Voices from the House

It's been 250 years since the Endeavour landed. What do First Nations peoples have to say?

Calling Country - Rhoda Roberts

Deborah Mailman on Rhoda Roberts' “remarkable” 16 years at the Sydney Opera House

Few people have had as much influence on what takes place in these hallowed halls as Rhoda Roberts. This month, she finishes her incredible stint at the Opera House. We spoke to actress and Trustee Deborah Mailman about Robert's everlasting impact.

Read more

Where the Knowledge Waters Meet

Explore the history of the site where the Opera House stands

Donate

The Opera House is committed to providing educational, professional development and cultural opportunities for First Nations communities. Whether through work experience, curated performances, such as the annual Dance Rites festival, or the daily lighting of the sails, the generous contributions of our visitors and friends allows us to create a positive impact in the lives of our communities.

Giving a gift today helps foster and celebrate a shared sense of belonging for all Australians. See how you can create change here.
 

Dance Rites

Dance Rites 2018

Meet the dancers and performers

First Nations dancers performing in front of a crowd on the Sydney Opera House Forecourt

Reconciliation Action Plan

The Opera House is committed to respecting, embracing and celebrating the culture of Australia’s First People. Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) outlines this commitment through a range of actions and initiatives that are being undertaken across all areas of the Opera House. These initiatives aim to safeguard the traditions of the world’s oldest living culture, and provide opportunities for Australia’s First People. Visit our Reconciliation Action Plan here

If you’d like to learn more about Reconciliation Australia’s RAP program, you can do so here or access the Share Our Pride tool to help you start your cultural awareness journey.