Welcome to Country

For millennia, Aboriginal people have formally welcomed visitors to their Country for trade and celebrations.  These welcomes showed respect to visitors and demonstrated peaceful coexistence.

A Welcome to Country is a special ceremony presented by an Elder from the local community. It provides Elders with the opportunity to formally welcome people to their Country at the start of significant public events attended by official guests and dignitaries. A Welcome may take many forms, depending on the nature of the event and local cultural practices, including singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech in traditional language or English.

Requesting a Welcome to Country

Southern Cross University recognises that having an Elder do a Welcome to Country ceremony is a privilege for the University. To do this we need to follow respectful protocols. It is also important to understand that Elders have community responsibilities and health issues which can take priority.  Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that:

  • care and respect are the primary concerns taken in regard to Elders;
  • early notification occurs for Elders to attend major events;
  • community protocols are recognised so that Elders attendance is appropriately shared; and
  • requests for an Elder to conduct a Welcome ceremony occur respectfully within community protocols through Professor Norm Sheehan, Co-Chair Southern Cross University Elders Council via email: elderscouncil@scu.edu.au