Welcome to Country

Deakin is committed to acknowledging, building and sustaining respect and understanding between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Our vision is for a university that values and celebrates diversity – where all students have respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, culture and values. At Deakin, we see this as a University-wide responsibility.

What is a Welcome to Country?

A Welcome to Country ceremony is performed by Aboriginal Traditional Owners for people visiting their country.  These ceremonies vary from speeches of welcome to traditional dance and smoking ceremonies.

When is a Welcome to Country appropriate?

It's suggested that a welcoming ceremony be arranged for major public forums and functions. Naturally if the function has broad impact on, or significance for, Aboriginal people, a welcoming ceremony will be appropriate.

Can any Aboriginal person perform a Welcome to Country?

No, a Welcome to Country should only be performed by a representative of the Traditional Owner group. Asking an Aboriginal person to perform a Welcome to Country when they do not belong to the Traditional Owner group may cause them embarrassment and may offend the Traditional Owners.

How do I organise a Welcome to Country?

If your event or function is in a part of Victoria with a Registered Aboriginal Party (RAP), you should contact the RAP to arrange the Welcome to Country. Contact details can be found in the Table of Registered Aboriginal Parties.

Learn more at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet website

What is an Acknowledgement of Country?

An Acknowledgement of Country recognises the traditional ownership of the lands upon which an event is held. An Acknowledgement of Country may be expressed by a person who is not an Indigenous Australian.

Wherever possible, your ceremony, forum or public event should include a Welcome to Country. Where this is not possible, your event should include an Indigenous Acknowledgement. The location of the event will determine the acknowledgement used, as it will address the particular traditional owners of those lands.

Below are the acknowledgements to be used for each of Deakin’s campus locations. If you are holding a function via videoconferencing, please use the acknowledgement for the area on which the function is chaired.

Warrnambool

I wish to begin by acknowledging the Gunditjmara (‘goon-ditch-mara’) people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are gathered today. We pay our respects to the local people for allowing us to have our gathering on their land and to their Elders: past, present and future.

Geelong

I wish to begin by acknowledging the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin nations, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are gathered today. We pay our respects to the local people for allowing us to have our gathering on their land and to their Elders: past, present and future.

Melbourne

I wish to begin by acknowledging the Wurundjeri (‘were-un-juri’) people of the Kulin nations, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are gathered today. We pay our respects to the local people for allowing us to have our gathering on their land and to their Elders: past, present and future.

Deakin Downtown

I wish to begin by acknowledging the Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin nations, the Traditional Owners of the land on which we are gathered today. We pay our respects to the local people for allowing us to have our gathering on their land and to their Elders: past, present and future.

Cloud Campus

Deakin would like to Acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which our Deakin University campuses reside. The Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation on whose land our Geelong campuses are located, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation on whose land our Burwood campus is located and the Gunditjmara people on whose land our Warrnambool campus is located.

I also pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who join us at Deakin University and will always be mindful and respectful that our First Nations people are the Traditional Custodians of this country.

Welcome / acknowledgment of Country protocol

As a general guide, only one Acknowledgement of Country needs to be delivered at an event

  • While it is understandable that each speaker would like to respect the traditional owners – and avoid the risk of offending – only one acknowledgment is necessary
  • More than one becomes repetitive and slows down / interrupts the flow of proceedings
  • To avoid such repetition, it may be helpful for the person delivering the Acknowledgment to use inclusive words like “On behalf of Deakin University and everyone here today, I would like to acknowledge…”

If a local elder is delivering an official Welcome to Country, it’s a good idea for the next speaker to thank the elder and reiterate a short Acknowledgment of Country – something along the lines of: “I would also like to acknowledge the local…”

  • The first speaker in the proceedings should deliver the Acknowledgment of Country – usually this will be the most senior Deakin staff member, as per broader University event protocol, or sometimes, a VIP special guest
  • If there is a Master of Ceremonies (MC), it is appropriate for the MC to deliver an Acknowledgment, followed by a shorter Acknowledgment from the first (and most senior) speaker, using words similar to those above
  • If the MC is moderating a panel discussion, only the MC needs to deliver the Acknowledgment
  • If a local elder is delivering an official Welcome to Country then an Acknowledgement of Country should not be delivered prior to this.

Contact us

General enquiries
+61 3 5227 2538
1800 063 383
Email NIKERI Institute

NIKERI Institute
Deakin University
75 Pigdons Rd
Waurn Ponds, Victoria 3216