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Yarn With Tim Gray

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

A Multi-Talented Proud Aboriginal Man Sharing His Unique Perspective

Tim Gray is a remarkable individual who wears multiple hats and contributes to his community in diverse ways. A proud Aboriginal man, Tim is not just a musician, a cultural tour guide, and an engagement officer for GambleAware; he's also a bridge between Indigenous and the non-indigenous world. Recently, Tim generously shared his insights with Bayton's RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) working group, shedding light on his unique perspective and experiences.

Photograph: Daniel Boud | Tim Gray, Barangaroo Aboriginal Cultural Tours

A Complex Background: Raised in a Non-Aboriginal Foster Family

Tim Gray's journey through life is marked by the complexities of identity and contrast. Raised in a non-Aboriginal foster family from the age of two, Tim said that he holds a unique perspective having lived in both worlds.

Always being aware that he was Aboriginal, at the age of 14, Tim attended the Tribal Warrior Culture Tours and learned modern-day aboriginal culture as well as the traditional culture like making tools, and fire. It was also at this age that Tim learned about his Aboriginal lineage and connection to The Gumbaynggirr Tribe and the Wiradjuri peoples.

Tim explains that his Aboriginal maternal lineage traces back to the Gumbaynggirr tribe, a community with a rich cultural heritage in the Macksville area of New South Wales. The Gumbaynggirr people have a deep connection to the land and the sea, and their traditions have been passed down through generations. Tim’s totem is a carpet snake which is now symbolic to him holding similar status to that of a brother or sister. He will not eat it, harm it, and will treat it with the utmost respect.

Tim's heritage with the Gumbaynggirr tribe is a source of pride and he looks forward to participating in the coming weeks in one of the many cultural ceremonies on country when he will be recognised as becoming a Gumbaynggirr tribal man. In addition to his maternal heritage, Tim's paternal connection is to the Wiradjuri people in the west of the Blue Mountains, an area renowned for its stunning natural beauty and significance in Aboriginal culture.

Reggae or classical – the choice is yours

Throughout this journey, Tim has found solace in music. Tim is proudly one of the contemporary First Peoples Composers at the Museums of History NSW and equally proud to be a member of the reggae band Green Hand Band. Through his music, he conveys stories and experiences, touching the hearts and minds of those who listen. His music is not just entertainment; it's a means of connecting with audiences on a deeper emotional level. One of Tim’s songs “Give it away, to keep it“ was written based on advice from a respected Elder who Tim connected with at the cultural camps at Royal National Parks. The late Elder spoke passionately about culture, and the need to share your culture, i.e. give it away, to be able to keep it.

Helping mob to stop gambling and problem gambling.

Tim's role as an Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer for GambleAware demonstrates his commitment to the well-being of his community. He helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples dealing with problem gambling, offering a compassionate and empathetic approach to navigate the challenges of addiction and find a path to recovery. His work showcases his dedication to improving the lives of others.

But wait, there is more..

If that all wasn’t impressive enough, Tim is a cultural tour guide at Barangaroo, Sydney. Barangaroo, nestled amidst Sydney's modern urban landscape, stands much like Tim as a testament to the coexistent unity of Indigenous heritage and contemporary world. Tim's role as a cultural tour guide at Barangaroo involves sharing the living culture of the First Nation peoples. His tours provide a unique opportunity for visitors from around the world to explore ancient traditions, learn about the enduring connections to the land, and appreciate the living history that thrives in the heart of the city.

Tim Gray exemplifies the power of education, sharing, and mutual understanding across diverse mediums to foster unity. His musical endeavours, cultural tours, and community engagement initiatives, not only preserve the legacy of his ancestors but also bring people from all walks of life closer. He stands as an inspirational figure, demonstrating that you do need to give it away to keep it and if you do, unity and understanding can flourish in the face of diverse backgrounds and experiences.

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