Aboriginal Programs

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In recognition of the deep history and culture of our city, we acknowledge the Tasmanian Aboriginal people as the Traditional Custodians of this land. We acknowledge the determination and resilience of the Palawa people of Tasmania who have survived invasion and dispossession and continue to maintain their identity, culture and rights.

We recognise that we have much to learn from Aboriginal people today, who represent the world’s oldest continuing culture. We pay our sincere respects to Elders past and present and to all Aboriginal people living in and around Hobart.

Our spirit of place is strong. Hobart: A community vision for our island capital. Pillar 1.1


The City of Hobart recognises Tasmania's 40 000 plus years of Aboriginal heritage and culture and the long, deep connection that Tasmanian Aboriginal People have with the land. 

We recognise the strong impact of colonisation on the Muwinina people here in Hobart and pay our respects to the Palawa/Pakana people as the ongoing custodians of this land.

Previous work

Work in the area of Aboriginal Programs over the past two decades has been guided by the City of Hobart's Aboriginal Strategy 2002. Work within this strategy included: 

  • engaging with Aboriginal people on projects of significance;
  • recognising significant events including NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week by attending community events, holding City of Hobart events and flying the Aboriginal Flag; 
  • providing cultural awareness training to staff and Elected Members; 
  • employment of an identified Community Development Officer - Aboriginal; 
  • provision of an Acknowledgement of Country or Welcome to Country at all major events; 
  • projects to increase Aboriginal content in signage and interpretation across the city; 
  • public art installations reflecting Aboriginal history and culture; 
  • supporting the participation of Aboriginal individuals, groups and organisations in the life of the city, including major events such as the Christmas Pageant and The Taste of Tasmania; 
  • supporting Aboriginal community and cultural activities through the Grants Program. 


New projects 

A new strategic framework for Aboriginal Programs

In 2019 the City of Hobart commenced a project to update the current and outdated Aboriginal Strategy 2002(PDF, 187KB) with a new framework and action plan, to guide and drive the City of Hobart’s work in Aboriginal Programs, both internally and in communities in which we operate.

In May 2019, the project team began to update the strategy in consultation with City of Hobart employees and key stakeholders. Extensive engagement commenced to develop new commitments and actions for the City of Hobart through: 

  • in-depth conversations with 22 Aboriginal people across eleven organisations representing Aboriginal organisations, arts groups, education and government; 
  • two workshops, online and paper surveys and working group meetings involving responses from 187 employees with representation from all divisions and wide-ranging roles and position levels;
  • workshops and conversations with elected members;
  • a public forum held in the Hobart Town Hall on 27 May 2019 during Reconciliation Week with 78 people in attendance. 

acap front.jpg The engagement findings were profound and provided in-depth guidance to inform the structure and content of the plan. Key themes and areas of action included:

  • building relationships and working in partnership with Aboriginal people;
  • building a culturally safe workplace and increasing understanding and respect;
  • raising the profile of Aboriginal people, heritage and culture across the city and sharing the truth of history; and
  • demonstrating leadership in social justice and inclusion in partnership with Aboriginal people.

Commitments and Actions in the new plan will assist the City to reflect upon its history, deepen relationships and lay the foundations for strong actions into the future.

The project team was overwhelmed by the strong, positive response from community and staff, who called for us to be brave in our commitment. We heard a desire for us to make this work a high priority and to remain committed to delivering it in the long-term. The generosity, commitment and passion demonstrated by participants has been inspiring and greatly appreciated.

On 16 December 2019, the Council endorsed the final Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan January 2020-January 2022(PDF, 3MB)  for implementation.

The City of Hobart will officially launch the new plan on 25 February 2020. All are welcome to attend the event.


ACAP community engagement

The City of Hobart sought feedback on the draft Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan in 2019 through its Your Say platform.

The Orb

The Orb is a collection of online resources to assist the teaching of Tasmanian Aboriginal histories and cultures. It is a dynamic project and will be regularly updated with new resources. The Orb has been developed by Aboriginal Education Services, Department of Education, Tasmania.


Place names map

pulingina to lutruwita (Tasmania) is a place names map that has been developed by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre.


Timeline of Tasmanian history

This timeline of Tasmanian history was produced by Dr. Shayne Breen, Geography & Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, with additional Flinders Island information from Maxine Roughley, CEO – Flinders Island Aboriginal Association Inc.