MATILDA BROWN: I'd like to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we stand, the Gadigal, and pay respect to their elders past, present and emerging. I'd also like to acknowledge and pay respect to their spiritual and physical connection to Country, and also their ongoing continuous living culture.
LIBBY STEWART: My name is Libby Stewart and I'm a senior curator at the National Museum of Australia in Canberra. It's been my very great pleasure to work on this new exhibition, Warrane, with Macquarie.
Warrane is centered around the idea of place. Macquarie's Martin Place office is located on Gadigal land, and Warrane is the Sydney language word for Sydney Cove. The exhibition explores Gadigal connections to Country, as well as the very strong influence that Lachlan Macquarie and his wife Elizabeth had on the shape and the nature of Sydney during their period here.
ALLANAH DAVISON: Acknowledging traditional practices, as well as showing respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land, is extremely important moving forward as a nation.
RACHAEL BARROWMAN: The Indigenous content developed for this exhibition, Warrane, was developed in co-design with the local Gadigal community. Through community engagement, the Davison family, who are Gadigal Traditional Owners of Sydney City, were selected by the community to be the face of this exhibition.
GREGORY ANDERSON: The vision in designing this exhibition was to create an evocative, compelling, layered atmospheric journey for visitors. And so to achieve this sense of a journey, a number of illuminated blades cascade through the space, guiding you through a number of sub-themes all related to place. These sub-themes in the exhibition are Caring for Place, Spirit of Place, Art of Place, Currency of Place and Shaping Place.
MATILDA BROWN: Sydney Basin is actually a giant art gallery. There's thousands of Aboriginal artworks scattered all around the basin. Some of the artworks you'll see here at the exhibition are stone engravings, mostly of fauna. A lot of them are from the Northern Beaches, Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park, western Sydney, and also all the way out to Bondi as well.
LIBBY STEWART: Sydney was in a fairly rundown state in 1809 when the Macquaries arrived, and Lachlan Macquarie as Governor didn't waste any time in starting a new program of building and revitalising of the town center.
Elizabeth Macquarie had a great interest in architecture, and when she came from England she brought with her a set of pattern books of different kinds of building types, and she used these when she influenced the shape of some of Sydney's earliest and most important buildings, including the first Government House.
These pieces of dinner service were most likely used by the Macquaries during their time here in Sydney, and the fact that there's such fine porcelain with a beautiful passion based on Japanese designs indicates their stature and place in Sydney society.
Lachlan Macquarie was the first Governor of New South Wales to introduce coins as currency, gradually replacing rum. The exhibition features a pretty cool children's interactive, which encourages kids to think about places that they like to be in, and they can design one of their own.
RACHAEL BARROWMAN: There are 3 film pieces that have been created for the Warrane exhibition. A Welcome to Country, a soundscape and an interactive language map. All pieces feature the voices of the Davison family: Gadigal Man Uncle Ray Davison, Gadigal Man Joel Davison, and Gadigal women Allanah and Tahlia Davison.
Having the Davison family as Gadigal people tell you their stories directly enhances the experience of the exhibition. It allows Gadigal voices to be heard in first person and allows them to explain their connection to Country to you.
LIBBY STEWART: We really hope you enjoyed this tour of Warrane. And we also hope that you'll be able to come in person and see the exhibition for yourself, and explore this really unique view of Sydney and its surrounds.