Aboriginal Heritage

Brisbane was known to the Aboriginal people as "Mian-jin", which means "place shaped like a spike". The Turrbal and the Jagera people were the principal clans, with the Turrbal mainly living north of the Brisbane River and the Jagera to the south.

Our city has strong links with the three important elements of Aboriginal life - family, clan, and language - our Greeters can introduce you to this rich and ancient culture. Experiences may include:

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Bushland Culture Trail Hut

Bushland Culture Trails, Boondall Wetlands

Lace up your walking shoes and see how the Brisbane City Council helps to preserve and communicate Aboriginal cultural heritage through initiatives such as bushland culture trails.

The Aboriginal Art Trail at Boondall Wetlands consists of 18 aluminium sculptures that tell stories of how the clans used the land, flora and fauna of the wetlands. You can see the sculptures along several different walking and cycling tracks through the reserve.

Mt Coot-tha

The Mt Coot-tha Aboriginal Art Trail showcases Aboriginal art in its natural setting. You can see how this art is used as a way of mapping the land and passing on cultural information.

The 1.5km walking trail features eight artworks. These include the main gallery at the end of the track, which is an Aboriginal map of the whole site, and interpretation signs are provided at each location.

Peace Park, Nashville

The Aboriginal Bush Culture Trail at Peace Park, Nashville, focuses on the Aboriginal food sources in the area. The 250m circular trail features hand-painted and carved totems.

The Aboriginal Plant Trail

The plant trail, part of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha, is a self-guided 30-minute tour that provides information on the way plants were used by some Aboriginal people for food, medicine and weaponry. The trail takes you through the Australian Rainforest, the oldest section of gardens in the Botanic Gardens, planted in 1974.

Aboriginal handprints at Queensland Museum

DandiiriMaiwar – Queensland Museum

DandiiriMaiwar is a vibrant culture centre in the Queensland Museum that celebrates Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people with collections of artefacts on permanent display.

Explore the complexity of their lives, their cultural diversity and differing perspectives through photographs, stories, artefacts, music and art. Experience their triumphs and tragedies and share their hopes for the future through stories from the Torres Strait Islands, Cape York, Yarrabah, Aurukun, and the Lockhart River region.

Talking Circle

State Library of Queensland – kuril dhagun and The Talking Circle

Located on level one of the library, kuril dhagun is an indigenous space and an initiative of the library, designed specifically to inspire audience participation. It has been a nucleus for Queensland's unique Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures since 2006.  It facilitates community connection, advocacy, and the creating, sharing and preserving of indigenous knowledge, ideas and experiences. 

You can also visit the The Talking Circle. Both cultures are based on oral and not written traditions, and The Talking Circle is a reminder to us all that some of the most valuable things we know have been passed on to us by our family and friends, and that this is a tradition we need to encourage in future generations.

Couple view Aboriginal art collection at GOMA

Queensland Art Gallery/GOMA

The collections present diverse artistic expressions from one of the world's oldest continuing societies. Drawn from all regions of the country, with Queensland being a key focus, its holdings of indigenous Australian artworks have grown remarkably in recent years, with a strong focus on contemporary art.

The collections are divided into Early Indigenous Australian Art, Indigenous Australian Art to the mid-1970s, Contemporary Indigenous Australian Art, Cape York and Far North Queensland, Contemporary Urban-Based Indigenous Art, Torres Strait Islander Art, Desert Painting, the Hermannsburg School Of Art, Arnhem Land and Northern Australia, and Indigenous Prints.