Things to do, Katherine & Surrounds, Northern Territory, Australia

Aboriginal culture, Katherine & surrounds

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Nitmiluk Visitor Centre, Katherine, Northern Territory, Australia

Marking the point where the traditional lands of the Jawoyn, Dagoman, and Wardaman Aboriginal peoples converge, Katherine has been an important meeting place for indigenous people for many thousands of years, and it remains so today. This is seen throughout the region in local galleries and festivals, ancient rock art, crafts and the culture practiced by the indigenous people of Katherine.

Ancient traditions

See the ancient Aboriginal rock art of Katherine by visiting Judbarra / Gregory National Park and taking the Escarpment and Nawulbinbin Walks, which have interpretive signs explaining the indigenous stories of the landscape's creation. The Nganalam Art Site at Keep River National Park has examples of the rock art characteristic of the Miriwoong and Gadgerong people, while the beautiful gorge at Umbrawarra Gorge Nature Park is adorned with ancient Wagiman art.

To get real insight into Aboriginal culture and get hands-on experience with activities such as basket weaving, spear throwing, fire lighting, painting, and playing the Didgeridoo, tour an Aboriginal community. Locals take visitors on guided walks to learn about bush medicines and bush tucker, before visiting the community art centre.

Galleries and festivals

A great selection of galleries in Katherine promote locally produced works that reflect the styles and influences of the Jawoyn, Warlpiri and Dagoman people. As well as buying work visitors are invited to participate and witness work being produced, from didjeridoos and boomerangs, to dilly bags, clap sticks and carvings.

From June through August various festivals in and around Katherine celebrate Aboriginal culture through art exhibitions, craft workshops, bush tucker tastings and sporting events. Some festivals offer camping facilities, such as Walking with Spirits, which is presented in partnership with the Australian Shakespeare Company and showcases traditional corroborees from several Arnhem Land languages.

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