Naming Country again: place names and Aboriginal cultural renewal on Australia’s Southeast Coast

Joy Lai ‘Durumbuluwa, Dyarubbin. The Hawkesbury River at Sackville’.
Joy Lai ‘Durumbuluwa, Dyarubbin. The Hawkesbury River at Sackville’.

In 2017 Grace Karskens stumbled across a list of 178 Aboriginal place-names for Dyarubbin and Ganangdayi, the Hawkesbury and Macdonald Rivers in New South Wales. An avid researcher of this area for over ten years, Karskens had never dreamed such a document existed. This list became the heart of a collaborative project with Darug researchers, educators and artists, as well as linguists, geologists and archaeologists, which successfully relocated over 90 of these names and produced a digital Story Map, available online and free, as well as a series of public-facing essays and stories, two major exhibitions and dual naming projects. My HRC project involves taking a deeper dive into the implications and possibilities of this collaborative, cross-disciplinary approach for Aboriginal cultural renewal, for public landscapes and for wider public awareness and understanding of Aboriginal culture and history.

Grace Karskens is Emeritus Professor of History at the University of New South Wales. Her latest book People of the River: Lost Worlds of Early Australia won the 2021 Prime Ministers Award for Australian History, the NSW Premier’s History Awarad and co-won the Ernest Scott Prize for Australian History.

Date & time

Tue 26 Sep 2023, 10.15–11.15am


Baldessin Precinct Building, Level 4


Emeritus Professor Grace Karskens, University of New South Wales



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