Cultural Programs

Cultural Programs

Burbangana youth program

Education Officer Nardi Simpson with Burbangana students. Photo: Lorinda Taylor
Education Officer Nardi Simpson with Burbangana students. Photo: Lorinda Taylor

This joint initiative run by Taronga Zoo Sydney and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services gives young people in care the opportunity to engage in a 12 week program where they will learn skills in animal and land care.

Burbangana is a Dharug word of the Sydney language meaning ‘take my hand and help me up’ and aims to reawaken the spirit of belonging and reconnection with country and culture.

Walanmarra youth program

The Walanmarra program is run at Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo, in partnership with the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. Walanmarra is complementary to the Burbangana program in Sydney.

Walanmarra is a Wiradjuri word which means ‘to make strong now’, representing the ethos of the program working towards strengthening Aboriginal children, in their skills, learning and attachment to land and culture. 

Animals of the Dreaming Zoomobile

Animals of the Dreaming Zoomobile with Col Hardy
Animals of the Dreaming Zoomobile with Col Hardy

Animals of the Dreaming Zoomobile is an inspiring program combining two fascinating aspects of Australia – native animals and the Dreamtime. This program is delivered by Brewarrina Elder, Colin Hardy OAM and supported by our Indigenous zoo staff.

Col Hardy is the recipient of the Order of Australia, for recognition of his contribution to the community over many years. Col has also been recognised for his musical talent through the Tamworth Country Music Festival's 'Golden Guitar' award.

It is Zoomobile's honour to have Col co-present Animals of the Dreaming.

Community outreach

Mentoring program for young women

Taronga has established a young women's mentoring program supporting local organisations who work with young women needing extra support and guidance in their lives. The program aims to mentor young women who are keen on working with animals and wish to further their skills and direction in the workforce. The young women are referred to Taronga Zoo Sydney through the program co-ordinator.

Outreach program for young men

Taronga collaborates with Juvenile Corrections Services to offer young men the opportunity to work and engage with staff and animals in and around the zoo. The program aims at building positive and respectful relationships for the young men in a work and community setting.This program also provides the young men with the potential to build their skills and knowledge that will further assist them in the wider community and with potential job opportunities.

Indigenous training opportunities

Supported by the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled funding, The Taronga Training Institute provides opportunities for Indigenous students to enroll and study in a range of accredited courses at Taronga.