A Guide to Exploring Indigenous Melbourne

Possum skin cloak displays in ‘Our Story’ section of First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum Dianna Snape Photography
Possum skin cloak displays in ‘Our Story’ section of First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum Dianna Snape Photography | Courtesy of Melbourne Museum
Monique La Terra

Known as the Kulin Nation to its traditional owners, Melbourne has a rich Indigenous culture dating back more than 40,000 years. Through these six immersive experiences, you can discover Indigenous history and art, tuck into bush food and explore the legacy of the Kulin Nation.

1. Bunjilaka Aborginal Cultural Centre

Museum

Established in collaboration with Melbourne’s traditional owners, the Boonwurrung and the Woiwurrung people, Melbourne’s museum Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre chronicles Indigenous history through a series of immersive exhibitions. Enter the nest of ancestral spirit Bunjil and learn how he breathed life into Kulin Nation, wander through the Milari Garden Trail, visit the resident eels during feeding time and see over 600 artefacts significant to Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre 11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC Australia +61 3 8341 7777

Entry to First Peoples exhibition at Bunjilaka, Melbourne Museum | Courtesy of Melbourne Museum

2. Alcaston Gallery

Set amidst Fitzroy’s bustling Brunswick Street, Alcaston Gallery showcases the work of emerging and established contemporary artists from the Australian and the Asia Pacific Region. Established in 1989, the gallery also represents the work of Indigenous Australians. At the helm is Executive Director Beverly Knight, who is a foremost expert on Australian Indigenous art and works directly with remote Indigenous communities, paving passageways for artists to find recognition and financial independence.

11 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia + 61 3 9418 6444

3. Charcoal Lane

Restaurant, Australian

Mission Australia’s social enterprise Charcoal Lane provides mentoring and support to young, vulnerable Indigenous Australians. Under the guidance of executive chef Greg Hampton, the trainees are taught a curriculum of hospitality skills to enforce self-confidence. Together the team prepares contemporary Australians meals, which champion native ingredients including spiced roasted emu fillet with beetroot and lemon tea tree soufflé, Pumpkin and pepper leaf gnocchi with macadamia and warrigal greens pesto, and the Lemon Myrtle meringue pie.

5. Ian Potter Centre

5. Ian Potter Centre
© Travis/Flickr

Housing the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian and Indigenous art collection, the Ian Potter Centre holds more than 20,000 Australian works from the Colonial period to the present day, with approximately 800 pieces on display. Located on the ground floor is a permanent collection of Indigenous art showcasing the work of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, including William Barak, Emily Kngwarreye, Judy Watson and Uta Uta Tjangala.

Ian Potter Centre Federation Square, Russell Street Flinders St & Russell Street, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 3 8662 1553

Ian_Potter_Centre_9 | © Travis/Flickr

6. Aboriginal Heritage Walk

Led by Indigenous guides, the Aboriginal Heritage Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens is an enlightening journey “into the ancestral lands of Koolin nation,” who are the traditional owners of Melbourne. Take part in a traditional smoking ceremony, discover Indigenous values and uses of Australian flora for medicine, food, and tools and finish off the tour with a refreshing cup of lemon myrtle tea.

Royal Botanic Gardens Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC Australia

Courtesy of the Royal Botanic Gardens

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