indigenous heritage aboriginal mosaic

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been telling stories and creating art on this land for tens of thousands of years

Learn more about Indigenous history in Bondi and how we celebrate Indigenous culture and community at Bondi Pavilion.


Waverley Council acknowledges the Bidjigal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal people who traditionally occupied the Sydney Coast and we pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the first people of this land. We commit to respecting and protecting Bidjigal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal sacred sites and special places, and to valuing and protecting our environment, honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ intrinsic relationship with the land and waters.

Aboriginal culture and heritage

We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been telling stories and creating art on this land for tens of thousands of years.
There is clear evidence that Aboriginal people occupied lived on sites in the area now known as Waverley in the period before European occupation. We know this through trodden pathways, ancient rock carvings, artefacts and discoveries of shelters used as living quarters.
The name "Bondi" is derived Dharawal language spoken by Aboriginal people from Sydney Harbour to the Shoalhaven. ‘Bondi’, also referred to as ‘Bundi’, ‘Bundye’ and ‘Boondye’, originates from the Dharawal word for a loud thud noise, due to the sound made by waves breaking over rocks. The word is also associated with clubs, or fighting sticks, due to the loud thud noise made on impact.

The Gadigal, who witnessed the arrival of the First Fleet, recorded their impressions of the Europeans by engraving a fully rigged ship at Bellevue Hill just outside Waverley.
For millennia, Sydney’s eastern beaches have been home to the Bidjigal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal people. We believe the knowledge, beliefs, and traditions our First Peoples is woven into our cultural backbone and is essential for our community and its future generations to learn from and experience. We are committed to honouring this heritage as a reminder of our interconnection with history by facilitating more stories, art and cultural expression to celebrate Indigenous culture and traditions.

Celebrating indigenous culture and community

We’ve partnered with local Indigenous advisory consultancy, Gujaga Foundation, to create names in Dharawal, the local custodian language, for new and designed spaces in Bondi Pavilion.

The beach setting and famed coastline has been honoured in naming conventions throughout the building. In keeping with the existing theme Gujaga helped guide the names in local Dharawal language for unnamed spaces in Bondi Pavilion.

You can learn more about the history and research that went into each of these Indigenous names at Bondi Story Room.

Dharawal names

We honour the land and the sea from the perspective of the world’s oldest and continuously living culture by bringing more meaning to the spaces at Bondi Pavilion. You can learn what the names mean below.

Atrium Mirrar Artrium Above and sky
Flexible Culture Space Yalagang Room Rejoice
Northern Courtyard Garu Courtyard Northern
Southern Courtyard Guya Courtyard Southern
Upstairs Balcony Nandiri Balcony Look or see

A haven for community, arts and culture