If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that racism continues to operate at an individual and systemic level. As the news cycle shifts away from the Bla(c)k Lives Matter movement, we must remember the importance of continuing to support our First Nations communities here in Australia.
There is a lot we can do as allies, from educating ourselves about the history and culture of First Australians, raising awareness of deaths in custody on social media, to donating to the bereaved families of David Dungay, Kumanjayi Walker and Tanya Day, or simply listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and learning. As consumers, we can also show our support by directing our purchase power to Indigenous-owned businesses.
If you, like us, hail from Sydney, and are looking for Indigenous-owned businesses to support, whether they be cafés, galleries or stores, you’ve come to the right place.
The Tin Humpy Café
A short walk from Redfern Station and decked out in cute pot plants and Aboriginal art, The Tin Humpy Café is a cosy refuge from the bustling inner-city that offers delicious handmade pastries showcasing native ingredients like their lemon myrtle meringue. Owner and pastry chef Yvette Lever is a Bundjalung woman whose dream of opening a café was years in the making following her move from Kyogle to Sydney almost two decades ago. Named after a temporary shelter traditionally used by Aboriginal peoples, Lever’s café is all about bringing people from all walks of life together and giving back to the community by offering Indigenous teens employment and learning opportunities.
Where to find them: 137 Redfern St, Redfern NSW 2016
This gorgeous eatery might be a two-hour drive from Sydney to the Hunter Valley’s Pokolbin, but it is so worth it. Expect dazzling views of the lush valley and mouth-watering dishes like their portobello mushroom shepherd’s pie and local herb risotto. As co-owners of Kawul, Kim Scott and Kassidy Waters have developed a plant-based menu (with meat options) that is inspired by the traditional flavours of bush tucker and their Wanaruah cultural heritage.
Where to find them: 16 Pokolbin Mountains Road, Pokolbin, NSW
Lillipad Café Sydney
Bringing in the flavours and laidback hospitality of Far North Queensland, this colourful Glebe café is run by Nyoka Hrabinsky, a Yidinji woman who hails from Cape York, and her husband Laszio. The Lillipad Café Sydney offers fair-trade coffee and an all-day breakfast menu that incorporates Indigenous flavours through collaboration with local elders. The Hrabinskys’ café is a hidden inner-city gem that cares about its carbon footprint and provides a safe place to people of all communities, whether they be Indigenous, LGBTQ+ or vegan.
Where to find them: 34 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe NSW 2037
Yerrabingin Rooftop Farm
Founded by Mindjingbal-Bundjalug man Clarence Slockee and Christian Hampson, a Maneroo and Woiwurrung man, this Indigenous-run rooftop farm is an Australian first. Yerrabingin Rooftop Farm is a welcome display of greenery that stands out amongst the industrial buildings of South Eveleigh precinct. It is home to more than 2000 edible, medicinal or cultural plants, including over 30 native bush foods and some threatened species. As a social enterprise, Yerrabingin hosts workshops and tours on Aboriginal culture, native permaculture, sustainability and wellbeing.
Where to find them: 2 Davy Rd, Eveleigh NSW 2015
APY Gallery Sydney
This Anangu-owned gallery in Darlinghurst provides a platform for young, emerging Indigenous artists from the APY lands in Central Australia to share their traditions and stories. The APY Gallery is an important initiative that gives back to the remote communities of the APY Lands and provides young Indigenous artists with opportunities to develop their skills and profiles. For the Anangu artists, it is a dream come true that brings the powerful art of the desert to the coast.
Where to find them: 45 Burton St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010
Based in Sydney, Nungala Creative is a boutique creative communications agency spearheaded by Warumungu Wombaya woman Jessica Johnson, an artist-designer and activist who also founded BlaQ Aboriginal Corporation, an Indigenous LGBTQ+ organisation. Johnson is passionate about creating innovative content with an unapologetically Aboriginal voice that uplifts her community. From the loud and striking poster for Yabun 2020 to colourful infographics and branding for NITV and SBS, Nungala Creative also sells cute pins, earrings and t-shirts that showcase Indigenous Pride.
Where to find them: http://www.nungalacreative.com/contact
National Centre for Indigenous Excellence
Founded by the fabulous Aunty Beryl Van-Oploo, a Gamilaroi elder and cooking guru, the National Centre for Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) is a not-for-profit that has become the heart of the Redfern community. NCIE helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples build their future by providing accommodation, gym facilities and training programs. Young graduates of these training programs have gone onto work at NCIE Hospitality’s incredible catering service, which offers delicious Indigenous-inspired flavours, from their wattleseed scones with rosella jam and cream to their paperbark-smoked salmon with quinoa and fresh herbs.
Where to find them: 166-180 George St, Redfern NSW 2016
Also published on Medium.