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Whale Festival - FREE Entry

Home > Sydney > Community Events | Cultural Events | Family | Festivals | Free
by Vanessa ★ (subscribe)
WeekendNotes Chief Editor / Chief Writer / PR & Communications.
Share and preserve special Vaucluse Estate history
Dwayne 'Naja' Bannon-Harrison, from the Ngaran Ngaran dancers, performs the smoking ceremony. Photo (c) Stuart Miller for Sydney Living Museums

Sydney Living Museum's Whale Festival celebrates the unique connection between Aboriginal culture and whale migration.

Held on Saturday 11th November 2017 at Vaucluse Estate, this FREE event coincides with the annual Gawura (Eora word for whale) migration season and offers a day of interpretive stories, dance and ceremony for all to enjoy.

The Whale Festival is inspired by a series of distinctive engravings of whales, carved thousands of years ago into the Vaucluse landscape.

The Gawura migration signifies revitalisation and birth of a new generation and the enduring narrative of the engravings tell a unique story of Aboriginal connection to country.

Sydney Living Museums' annual Whale Festival invites visitors on a journey of interpretation to help understand this special story shared by many different Aboriginal communities.

The day will begin at 10am on the Vaucluse Estate Beach Paddock for a traditional Smoking Ceremony by Dwayne 'Naja' Bannon-Harrison and Welcome to Country by, Aunty Vivian Mason, both from Yuin Country.

As the tide of Sydney Harbour slowly begins to rise, experience the significance of the whale to Aboriginal culture through dance performances from Ngaran Ngarn Culture Awareness and the Djaadjawan Dancers.

Fred's Bush Tucker will then cook up local fish, providing a cultural connection to the harbour for the local Birrabirragal people, while inside the Vaucluse House kitchen, Sydney Living Museum's own colonial gastronomer, Jacqui Newling, will be cooking up some traditional whaler's 'pot luck' seafood stew, referencing Sydney's early whaling industry.

Children can create their own scratch art inspired by the whale engravings or handle a piece of whale baleen. There will also be an opportunity to join a whale themed tour of the historic Vaucluse House.

The Whale Festival follows the success of the 2016 event and has been further developed for 2017 as a part of Sydney Living Museums' year-long cultural calendar exploring the indigenous connections across its properties. Entry is FREE.

For more information on the festival program, please visit

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When: Saturday 11 November 2017 10am-2pm
Where: Vaucluse House, Wentworth Road, Vaucluse NSW 2030
Cost: Free entry
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