Aboriginal History and Culture

In the spirit of reconciliation, ACRRM and RDAA acknowledges Australian Aboriginal Peoples and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation. We respect the traditional owners of lands across Australia in which our members and staff work and live, and pay respect to their elders past present and future.

The RMA22 conference will be held on Ngunnawal country in Canberra.

Meet the RMA22 artist: Richard Allan Jr

We are excited to announce we have commissioned Indigenous artist Richard Allan Jr to create artwork especially for RMA22. Look out for his art throughout the promotion of the conference, as well as onsite in Canberra. 

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About Richard 

Richard Allan Jr. is a Ngunnawal, Kamilaroi, Bundjalung artist who started cultural work through his fathers and family business TOACK and Ngunnawal Art until he began his own business journey. His passion for his culture and his business has taken him to many places around Australia and internationally. Richard combined his skills, love and passion for IT, culture, and art to create his own business, 'Traditional Core'.

About the RMA22 artwork 'healing'

"The story behind this artwork is that I wanted to create a piece that resembles medicine.

The main colours in the leaves are purple and pink which are the colours of hardenbergia, a plant that we use very often in indigenous medicine. The circles in between the leaves are community’s and it shows that medicine and knowledge going through communities may seem small, but it can make the biggest difference. The cream-coloured lines in the background represent pathways, and the coloured dots used in the painting are very traditional colours you can find on country today."

The Ngunnawal People

The Ngunnawal people are the Indigenous Australian inhabitants whose traditional lands encompass much of the area now occupied by the city of Canberra and the surrounding Australian Capital Territory.

As with many other Aboriginal cultures, the Ngunnawal people have passed down traditional knowledge from generation to generation through word of mouth and Dreamtime stories. Through exchanging information and sharing knowledge, we can all play a part in ensuring that Ngunnawal culture exists for future generations.

‚ÄčThe meaning of Ngunnawal is we the people, or us. Early surveyors and historians in the 19th century spelled it Ngunawal (one ‘n’), so did Norman Tindale in his listing of Aboriginal tribes (Tindale 1974: 198). These sources also indicate that the original spelling was in fact Ngoonawal (rhyming with soon).

The local traditional Aboriginal people, the Ngunnawal, have occupied the area in the vicinity of the present town of Yass which was central to the clan boundaries of the Ngunnawal people. The clan boundaries encompassed the area from Goulburn to the north, Gundagai to the west, Cooma to the south and Braidwood to the east. This also includes the entire territory of the Australian Capital Territory on which the national capital, Canberra, is situated. 

The above information was originally published with permission on the Thunderstone Aboriginal Cultural Services website. We encourage you to peruse this website to learn more. 

Culture and experiences at RMA22

Canberra has more than 3,500 known Aboriginal heritage sites which indicate the extensive occupation of this area by Aboriginal people. More information on the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage of the ACT is available here.

While you are in Canberra, immerse yourself in some of the oldest and richest cultures in human history with the extensive collections of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and history at Canberra’s museums and galleries. Take a tour with a local Ngunnawal elder or try your hand at traditional First Nations practices at a workshop at the National Arboretum. Read more about these experiences on the Visit Canberra website.  

Further to the collaboration with artist, Richard Allan Jr, we are also proud to have the below initiatives and inclusions within the RMA22 conference program: 

  • The Welcome to Country will be delivered by traditional landowners, the Ngunnawal people, at the RMA22 Welcome Reception (Wednesday 12 October) to mark the official opening of the conference.
  • The opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander registrars to apply for support to attend RMA22. 

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander medical students have the opportunity to apply for the and the ACRRM President’s Prize to support them to attend the conference.