Landscape Yarning

Group discussion on Landscapes and Soil with Aboriginal cultural lens.

Landscape Yarning

Group discussion on Landscapes and Soil with Aboriginal cultural lens.

Community Participation -


The issue

The Cooks River begins as a series of small watercourses near Graf Park in Bankstown and flows 23km in an Easterly direction towards Botany Bay. Its' course meanders through some intense urban landscapes. The catchment covers approximately 100km.

Increased opportunities to develop stronger connections and partnerships between Landcare and Aboriginal communities exist across five key theme areas: Recognition, Representation and Inclusion, Relationships and Collaboration, Awareness and Education and Resourcing. With this in mind, a yarning space was created with a theme of landscape appreciation through an Aboriginal cultural lens aligned with western scientific approaches where possible.

Enabling community people to include their story into a larger narrative of landscape awareness, requires hospitality and willingness to show reciprocity amongst people. Within smaller needs is a greater need to provide the community with a duel or renaming of the Cooks River.

The solution

The Marrickville Golf course lies within the lower reaches of the Cooks River Valley. It is a place that has Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultural values amongst the local community. A story around the space was developed with an aim of embellishing story with the experiences and knowledge of others.

From this place, to the south of the river lies an escarpment running west to east that provides a vista of Botany Bay and the Valley. The River snakes past and arises to the North to the current suburbs of Marrickville and Dulwich Hill. During the time of the first fleet, it was from this very vicinity that the Aboriginal warrior exacted payback on MacIntyre, the Governors Gamekeeper.

It is from this place that an appreciation of history and memory through story, through spatial rather than temporal time appreciation, that education through awareness was promulgated.

The impact

By the end of the discussion, the members of the community involved were treated to hospitality, tea and biscuits, in an outdoor learning setting. The conversations were engaging and inclusive with myself facilitating question and answers relative to participants understanding of landscapes, using their language to describe what was around them.

By using the location, all the participants were able to go home with a learned experience relative to their own capacity, including myself.

Key facts

  • Every space has memory, and these memories gift us with our knowledge.