A Yarn With Aunty Edna

Last week we visited Aunty Edna Watson, a Darug elder, to sit down for a cuppa and talk about her experience growing up on country, unearthing hidden family histories, learning her language and sharing the culture of her ancestors with her children, grandchildren and community.

Aunty Edna is an artist and story teller, a keeper of knowledge and culture of the Darug people. She grew up in Western Sydney, with strong connections to the Deerubbin River.

With an Aboriginal mother and white father, Aunt Edna recalled how she became conscious of her Darug identity and the  significance of this in finally knowing who she was and deepening her connection to county.

Aunty Edna features in Against The Tide as one of our storytellers.



Aunty Edna at her home in Oakville


Another Darug woman, our Community Producer, Louana Sainsbury,  compares stories and shares some family photos with Aunty Edna.



Sound Bites From The Quay

Recently we took to the pavements down at Circular Quay last week to capture the sounds of the precinct. Can you imagine the fantastic plethora of noise? The chatter of commuters and tourists, kids laughing and crying, ferries blasting their horns, the rumble of trains and traffic, music from local buskers, impatient seagulls, the purr of the wind, the water lapping against the sea wall.

This is the starting point of our journey west and upriver.

Here, Catherine and Duncan leant their voices to a few characters who will appear in the work and invite you to hear their stories and follow them on this journey. Of course, this was a test run! Our writers are currently finessing the script and we’re excited to be working with talented professional actors to bring these characters to life.

Check out these pics of the team recording content for our prototype app!

Picture 8


Picture 2


Picture 1


Introducing Against The Tide


Welcome to our blog site for Against The Tide, an innovative and immersive public art project in development with Think+DO Tank.

The project aims to take participants on a journey west along the waterway between Circular Quay and Parramatta by Ferry. Using a special geo-locative mobile app, participants will be invited to access the multiple layered histories of this significant river highway.

So, why are we interested taking to this waterway? What is found from looking west and traveling upriver?


The Parramatta River has always been central to Aboriginal and colonial life in Sydney. The waterways where Sydney now exists were a sacred place where ceremonies, connected to the seasons, would bring Aboriginal clans together from the Hunter, Georges, and Parramatta Rivers to meet and trade with each other. After colonization, it was the first highway of the Sydney region and a passageway for escape and new beginnings.

Against The Tide is interested in the act of taking to these waters and offering a new way of seeing. What is hidden and what is revealed by this journey west up the River? What has happened here? The project traces lines and layers of contested history and presents the contradictory nature of Sydney captured through the prism of its waterways. 

We’re not just interested in history, but the way history is made: through the ellipses and forgotten threads; the contested narratives; the very personal stories of intimacy, creaion, birth and burial, growth and demise; and the grander political, colonial and cultural dreams. Against The Tide will lead participants into a poetic and dramatic event, not a straight re-telling of history. 


The app, along with the physical journey of the ferry, delivers participants to an experience with the waterway in provocative and innovative ways, in situ. It traces lines of contested history through time and place. It brings disparate and unexpected threads of the past and present into conversation. It allows a new view of the glistening and often distracting screens of the present.

Have we got your attention yet? Want to know more?

You can read more about the project on our about page. Follow our blog and we’ll keep you posted on our journey to produce this unique and interactive new art project!