The Araluen Cultural Precinct represents a ‘keeping place of stories.’ Visitors are offered a rich experience set amongst important Arrernte sites significant to the local Arltyerre (Dreaming) including yaye (big sister hill), yaye akweke (little sister hill) and a sacred 300-year-old corkwood tree.
The Araluen Arts Centre is cradle between two hills – Yaye (meaning Big Sister in Arrernte) is located directly behind the Araluen Galleries and Sculpture Garden, and Ye (meaning Little Sister in Arrernte) is located to the west of the Araluen Cultural Precinct in the Frank McEllister Public Park.
These hills represent the dreaming of the Two Sisters who travelled from the west. The sisters took rest at this site to tell each other stories, whilst keeping an eye out on the old man who was following them. They then continued their travels north along the Todd River.
Both hills are very important to Indigenous cultural traditions and visitors are asked not to climb the hills. They can however be enjoyed from Yaye’s Café, the Sculpture Garden and the Park.
The Araluen Arts Centre is specifically designed to protect the corkwood tree that can be found within the Sculpture Garden. This 300 year old tree, part of the Two Sisters Dreaming story, stands watch across the centre and is the very heart around which the galleries are built.
Corkwood trees are covered in a thick bark which allows them to survive severe fire and regenerate new sprouts from the trunk. It produces nectar when it is in flower and you will see many birds, particularly honey eaters, who favour the sweet and sticky substance.