Metcalfe Auditorium
State Library of New South Wales
10am - 4.30pm
Saturday 7 May 2016


The first of three symposia, Landscape and language was a Kaldor Public Art Projects and State Library of New South Wales event, convened by Ross Gibson, Centenary Professor of Creative and Cultural Research, University of Canberra, in anticipation of the 32nd Kaldor Public Art Project, Jonathan Jones’s barrangal dyara (skin and bones).


Crowning a high ridge above the city, the impressive Garden Palace dominated Sydney’s nineteenth-century skyline. It was erected in the present-day Royal Botanic Garden, a final inner-city vestige of grassland and Indigenous country scraped clean. Announcing Australia to the world, the palace welcomed international visitors and their goods to the Sydney International Exhibition, 1879–80. Indigenous languages seemed to have been silenced on the ancient ground, while a chatter of other languages, currencies and philosophies from all round the world were ushered in. Landscape and language revealed the cultural landscape and built environment that led to the Garden Palace, asking what configurations of country are still active in this site on the edge of the city.

Speakers in program order:  
Jonathan Jones
, artist
Uncle Charles Madden
, Gadigal Elder
Dr Clint Bracknell, Senior Lecturer at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music
Russell Smith, Ngarrindjeri actor
Dr Stan Grant Sr AM, Wiradjuri language expert
Dr Christine Evans, Chief Education Officer, Aboriginal Education, Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards, NSW
Kirsten Thorpe, State Library of NSW, Manager, Indigenous Services
Ronald Briggs, State Library of NSW, Indigenous Services Librarian
Aunty Julie Freeman, artist and cultural leader
Bruce Pascoe, writer, editor and anthologist
Kim Mahood, writer and artist
Gary Warner, artist and producer
Oliver Costello, Co-Creator, Firesticks Initiative

Image: The Garden Palace, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, c.1879. Courtesy of the City of Sydney Archives.


Morning SessionBack to top


Introduction - Jonathan Jones

Maaya Barang (get the sound) - Clint Bracknell

Reading from historical texts on the Garden Palace - Russell Smith

Working with language panel discussion


Afternoon SessionBack to top

Reading country - Aunty Julie Freeman

Aboriginal agriculture - Bruce Pascoe

Working with country - Kim Mahood and Gary Warner

Cultural fire - Oliver Costello