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North Sydney and Willoughby are two of many Councils and organisations to celebrate the Gai-mariagal Festival with a series of events for the community.

Founded in 2001, the Gai-mariagal Festival celebrates First Nations People’s culture and heritage in the Northern Sydney region. The six-week festival occurs each year from Sorry Day on 26 May through to the end of NAIDOC Week in mid-July.

The theme for the 2022 festival is ‘Nalawala Ngara’: ‘Sit down and listen’. 

Willoughby City Council Mayor Tanya Taylor invited the community to embrace the opportunity to participate in a number of local free events. 

“The Gai-mariagal Festival is a time to listen, learn, and celebrate First Nations culture and knowledge. Whether you wish to listen to a library talk, take the kids to Aunty Time, or be guided through our beautiful local bushland, there are lots of great events happening in Willoughby,” Mayor Taylor said.   

Local Gai-mariagal Festival event highlights:

Professor Dennis Foley: Author Talk discussing ‘What the Colonists Never Knew – A History of Aboriginal Sydney’, Chatswood Library | Tuesday 1 June | 6pm – 7pm

To mark National Reconciliation Week, Gai-mariagal Elder and Traditional Knowledge Holder, Professor Dennis Foley will share insights about what it was like for Sydney’s Aboriginal Peoples to coexist alongside the colonists from 1788 to the present, and share perspectives and stories of the Gai-mariagal Country, today known as the Northern Sydney region. 

Bushtucker Workshop with Bush to Bowl, Warners Park Community Centre | Wednesday 15 June | 10am – 12pm

Sit down with the team from ‘Bush to Bowl’ to learn about bush food plants and their uses. Garigal man Adam Byrne from ‘Bush to Bowl’ will showcase edible and medicinal bushfoods, providing an insight into a range of traditional bushfood plants. Enjoy a light morning tea and a short walk to view bush foods plants at Warners Park.


Aunty Time Stories and Song for pre-school children and their carers, Chatswood Library | Thursday 7 July | 10-11am

Celebrate our First Nations people and culture during NAIDOC Week with stories and songs presented by a local First Nations Aunty. For children 3-6 years old and their parent or carer. 

Cultural Bushwalk, Explosives Reserve, Castle Cove | Friday 8 July | 10am –  12pm

A guided walk in beautiful Explosives Reserve provides an opportunity to reflect and connect with the bush and pay respect to the oldest surviving living culture. Our local Aboriginal Heritage Office guide will discuss the local Indigenous history, culture and landscape features. 


Visit: https://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/Campaigns/Gai-mariagal-Festival-2022

The festival is proudly supported by many organisations of the Northern Sydney region. Sydney North Primary Health Network, Northern Beaches Council, Lane Cove Council, North Sydney Council, Stanton Library, Willoughby City Council, Chatswood Library, Mosman Council, Mosman Youth Centre, Ku-ring-gai Council, The Wildflower Gardens, LC Gallery- Lane Cove, Reconciliation NSW, Frenches Forest Catholic Parish, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, Guyabanha and the Gaimaragal Group.

The community can find a range of events throughout Northern Sydney during the 6-week celebration including workshops, performances, bush walks and art activities.  

To see the full event program, visit: https://gai-mariagal-festival.com.au/all-events/