Embarking on this research many years ago my goals were to demonstrate that creativity in making and seeing, Bangawarra naa, has the potential to make a positive contribution to Aboriginal emotional, social and mental health. This investigation affirms through a heuristic inquiry and narrative portrayal, the value of traditional creative knowledge. 

Within this dissertation both visual form and written analogies demonstrate that making is of scientific knowledge and seeing is a psychological process that remains valid within the realms of contemporary theories and practices. 

'Indigenous communities across Australia traditionally utilise the arts and story telling to connect, learn and convey knowledge and beliefs'

Australian Aboriginal symbols are visual forms of knowledge that express cultural intellect. Being classified by a Western interpretation of “art” devalues thousands of years of generational knowledge systems, where visual information has been respected, appreciated and valued. The Dharug term for the Creational period is Gunyalungalung—traditional ritualised customary lores (laws). These symbols are permanently located within the environment on open rock surfaces, caves and markings on trees. Whilst some symbols are manmade, others are made by Creational ancestral beings and contain deep story lines of information in sacredness. 

Therefore, creative imagery engraved or painted on rock surfaces are forms of conscious narratives that emphasise deep insight. This article highlights how Aboriginal creativity has little concept of aesthetical value, but is a cultural display of meaning relating to Creational periods, often labelled as The Dreamings. With over 350 different Aboriginal Nations in Australia, this article focuses of the Dharug Nation, located around the northern Sydney area of New South Wales.


Cultural and communication difficulties between non Indigenous and Indigenous peoples create a major barrier to improving physical, social and mental health outcomes. Linguistic, cultural, historic and political factors all impact on relationships and open communication between Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians. Indigenous communities across Australia traditionally utilise the arts and story telling to connect, learn and convey knowledge and beliefs. Indigenous art offers an expression of identity and culture, providing avenues for self expression, self determination and self understanding. With these understandings of Indigenous culture, art also has the power to heal. The Arts can therefore be a culturally appropriate tool for counselling professionals.


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