We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the Country on which the Art Gallery of New South Wales stands.

Aboriginal language names for our buildings

A glass-walled building on left and a sandstone building on right with a covered plaza and large tree in between

Exterior view of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Naala Badu (left) and Naala Nura (right), photo © Iwan Baan

The new Art Gallery of New South Wales building designed by SANAA as the centrepiece of the Sydney Modern Project has been given the Aboriginal name Naala Badu, meaning ‘seeing waters’ in the Sydney language.

The original Art Gallery building, with its 19th-century sandstone facade facing the Domain parklands and the city beyond, has also received a Sydney language name, Naala Nura, meaning ‘seeing Country’.

Together, the two buildings comprise our expanded art museum. The name of the institution, as the Art Gallery of New South Wales, remains unchanged.

The new names for our two buildings draw on both their architecture and their location, on Gadigal Country.

Naala Badu references both the adjacent waters of Sydney Harbour and those that have always sustained communities throughout the state.

Naala Nura acknowledges both Indigenous Country in general and the golden sandstone of the Art Gallery’s original building, hewn from local Country.

The Art Gallery engaged extensively with key Aboriginal stakeholders and communities, including the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, about receiving Aboriginal names for its buildings. This process was supported by the Art Gallery’s Board of Trustees, Indigenous Advisory Group and Indigenous Art Gallery staff.

The Art Gallery is honoured that our two buildings on this significant site in Sydney will bear the Aboriginal names Naala Badu and Naala Nura. They evoke a powerful sense of place – this place of extraordinary physical beauty with its complex, contested histories. We intend to carry these names with the deepest respect.

Aboriginal language has a deep and spiritual connection to Country. We hope this can be felt by everyone when the building names Naala Badu and Naala Nura are used by the community and visitors to the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Indigenous Advisory Group chair Rachel Piercy