Aboriginal culture & customs

Cultural Protocols refer to the customs, lore and codes of behaviour of a particular group. Protocols are an important part of all cultures and exist to ensure that people behave and interact in an appropriate manner.

Showing respect for the cultural protocols of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community demonstrates acceptance of the cultural tradition s, history and diversity of that particular community and it also acknowledges that the processes and procedure of non-Indigenous communities are equally valid and demands the same respect as one's own cultural protocols.

By incorporating Aboriginal cultural protocols into official events we are able to :

  • recognise and pay respect to Aboriginal peoples, cultures and heritage
  • communicate Aboriginal cultural practices to the wider community to promote respect and understanding
  • demonstrate recognition of Aboriginal peoples unique position which can assist in building relationships and partnerships

Traditional owners and custodians are the terms used to describe the original Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people of this land. Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the descendants of the traditional owners/custodians and have an on-going spiritual and cultural connection to the land and waterways where their ancestors lived and practiced lore, law and ceremonies. The traditional custodians of the eastern Sydney coastal area are known as the Bidjigal and Gadigal peoples of the Eora nation.

There are two ways in which you can acknowledge the Aboriginal traditional custodians of  the Randwick City Council area.

Welcome to Country Ceremony

A 'Welcome to Country ' or 'Traditional Welcome' ceremony is where an Aboriginal descendant or elected representative of the local Aboriginal group welcomes people in attendance to their land prior to a meeting, event or functio n. Recent Welcome to Country ceremonies are a modern version of a traditional ceremony that enables the custodians of the land to give their consent for the activity to take place of their lands and is a mark of respect from the organisers to the local Aboriginal community .

Acknowledgement of Country

Acknowledgement of Country is where non-Indigenous people or and Aboriginal person who is not from the local area performs an Acknowledgement to Country to acknowledge and show respect to the traditional owners and custodians of the land and, like a Welcome to Country, is conducted prior to meetings, events and functions.

The following is considered an example of the appropriate wording for and Acknowledgement of Country, as endorsed by the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council:

'I would like to acknowledge that we are here today on the land of the Gadigal and Bidjigal peoples who traditionally occupied the Sydney coast. On behalf of Randwick City Council, I acknowledge Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people attending today and I pay my respects to Elders past and present' .

Information on how to book a Welcome to Country/Acknowledgement of Country can be found on the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council website or calling their office on 02 9311 4282.

Last Updated: 25 October 2022
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