A Welcome to Country is a formal welcome onto Aboriginal land given by an Elder or person of that land. It should be the first item on the order of proceedings for the event/occasion.

A Welcome to Country may comprise a single speech given by an Elder, with or without an accompanying performance.

When to use a Welcome to Country

University events that have invited members of the public and/or dignitaries should include a Welcome to Country. Special events can also include a Welcome to Country, determined by the managing staff.

If you are officiating at a ceremony or event, it is respectful to ask the Elder how he/she would prefer to the addressed. Some Elders do not like to be named Aunty or Uncle by non-Aboriginal people.

If you are speaking directly after a Welcome to Country, it is appropriate to make a brief Acknowledgment of Country, for example: "I would also like to pay my respects to the [language groups] people and their Elders past and present."

Who can perform a Welcome to Country

A Welcome to Country can only be performed by a traditional owner from the particular Country where the event is being held. This is usually a recognised Elder from the appropriate language group. The Elder welcomes people to their land.

Moondani Balluk Academic Unit liaises with Elders in the community to engage them for official welcomes. In providing a Welcome to Country, traditional owners are using their intellectual property and must be paid for the service. Moondani Balluk can advise on these costs.

Staff from Moondani Balluk are also available to perform an Acknowledgement of Country on request.

Please email us at [email protected] if you'd like to request a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country.