Australia’s First Peoples Frenchs Forest

Northern Cemeteries acknowledges the unique status of Australia’s First Peoples as the original people of this land. We recognise their cultures, histories and ongoing relationship and obligations to the land and waterways.

Acknowledgement of Country

In the spirit of reconciliation, Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetery acknowledges the traditional custodians of this land, the Gai-mariagal People. The spirit of the Gai-mariagal can be found across the region and we honour the memory of their ancestors.

These traditional homelands are ancient and sacred to the Gai-mariagal who have a deep sense of belonging, both traditional and contemporary, because they are part of the world’s oldest surviving, continuous living culture on the planet.

Totem: Rock Wallaby

Totems are a natural object or creature that is believed to have spiritual significance and can be adopted by particular groups as an emblem or symbol.

In the spirit of reconciliation, Northern Cemeteries has embraced the rock wallaby as the totem for Frenchs Forest Bushland Cemetery.

The rock wallaby is a major totem for the Gai-mariagal people who are the traditional custodians of the area, which today is known as the Northern Sydney region.

First animal that Biama, the Creator Spirit, made was the red rock wallaby and she used the red dirt and rubbed it all over the fur to make the creature red.

There are a number of different rock wallabies that live in the area, the pretty face wallaby, the black brown wallaby and the red rock wallaby.

The lesson of the red rock wallaby is about moving forward and not getting stuck in the past. Like its relative the kangaroo, wallabies can’t go backwards.

Susan Moylan-Coombs

As a Gurindji, Woolwonga woman from the Northern Territory, now  living on Gai-mariagal country, Northern Sydney, it is with great pleasure that I have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Northern Cemeteries to provide advice and guidance, to support them on their journey of truth telling and reconciliation.

Today Northern Cemeteries proudly flies the Aboriginal Flag and acknowledges the Traditional Custodian of the lands that each of their five cemeteries are located.  As sovereign people we have always maintain our connection to country, a connection that has always been sacred to us.

As we look to the future we hope that we can look back one day and say that we made a contribution and we have made a difference.

If we truly care for the community in all its diversity, then healing the history of our past, will bring respect, dignity and inclusivity into the present.