Storytelling at New Heights

You can now experience the Sydney Harbour Bridge along with its spectacular views from an Indigenous cultural and historical perspective. This unique experience named Burrawa, - translating to ‘above’ or ‘upwards’ in the local language - has been created in collaboration with BridgeClimb owner David Hammon and Sydney Festival’s artistic director Wesley Enoch.

Storytelling at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Courtesy of BridgeClimb, 2021.

In an interview with the National Indigenous Times (2021), Enoch highlights the importance of the project: 

“We thought that these lessons need a bigger platform. What was amazing was that David and the BridgeClimb mob were keen on this idea about how more people come back and see things differently, particularly within [a] COVID environment.”

Smoking Ceremony. Courtesy of BridgeClimb Sydney, 2021.

First Nations peoples have always lived on the beautiful country that we now call Sydney, and their strong connection to land and water continues to this day. In the Sydney metropolitan area, there are 29 clan groups who, collectively, are referred to as Eora Nation, ‘Eora’ meaning ‘here’ or ‘from this place.’ There are many incredible stories about the culture and history of the Eora Nation, and since it is the landing site of the First Fleet, there are many stories to tell of colonisation and the incredible Indigenous people that fought for their land and culture (Sydney Festival, 2020). 

Portrait of Bennilong. Courtesy of courtesy of Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales, 2021.

From the elevated perspective you can look down to the shores and learn about where Patygarang, a young Cammeraygal woman, taught William Dawes, a member of the First Fleet her language. Attendees have the opportunity to learn the origins of the familiar place names that circle the water’s edge, like Barangaroo and hear other stories of Me-Mel and the great Eel story and the renowned Bennelong. Mia Makin, one of the three Aboriginal storytellers leading the climbs, has a strong desire to share Indigenous history and push for reconciliation. In an interview with the National Indigenous Times (2021) she talks further about the importance of the tours: 

“I think most people don’t think about that history, they don’t think to ask or to learn. I think having this opportunity to teach people will let them see that.”

Burrawa is a unique experience that allows people to view Sydney in a whole new way and learn the incredible Indigenous stories and heritage of the area. If you have a chance to experience this amazing tour we definitely recommend.

You can find tickets here.