Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners

Acknowledging the Traditional Owners is a statement of recognition of the Traditional Owners of the land on which our meetings and classes are held. 

The School of Counselling is committed to reconciliation with local Aboriginal communities around Australia by showing value and respect for our country’s past, present and future owners. We recognise the importance of paying respect to Aboriginal communities who continue to be the cultural custodians and holders of knowledge for the land on which our campuses are located. Representatives from local aboriginal land councils are formally invited to provide a Welcome to Country at large School events such as Professional Development days for academic teachers.

The acknowledgement of the traditional custodians of the land is used for smaller events. The acknowledgement should be said with respect and sincerity at the beginning of meetings and terms.

SYDNEY Campus Acknowledgement of Country

"I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation who are the traditional custodians of this land on which Sydney campus stands.

I would also like to pay respect to the Gadigal Elders past and present and extend this respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Elders and people from other communities who are here today”. 

BRISBANE campus Acknowledgement of Country

"I would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land on which Brisbane campus stands and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.

I would also like to pay respect to the elders past and present and extend this respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait people from other communities who are here today”. 

MELBOURNE Campus Acknowledgement of Country

"I would like to acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation who are the traditional custodians of the land on which Melbourne campus stands.

I would also like to pay respect to the Wurundjeri Elders, past and present, and extend this respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait people from other communities who are here today ".

ADELAIDE campus Acknowledgement of Country

"I would like to acknowledge the Kaurna people who are the traditional custodians of the land on which Adelaide campus stands.

I would also like to pay respect to the Kaurna Elders past and present and extend this respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait people from other communities who are here today".                                            

Ethical Response

If there are multiple speakers, it is important for the second speaker to respond to the Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners. The following is considered a respectful response:

"I respectfully acknowledge the past and present traditional owners of this land on which we are meeting, it is a privilege to be standing on <traditional name of people> country".

When Acknowledging Traditional Land Owners for an event off campus it is recommended that you seek advice from the states Native Title Service, regarding the name of the Traditional Owners for that area.

Dream Time - The Creation: Australia's Indigenous History:

The Origin of Water:

Once upon a time the land had no water, or so all the animals were led to believe, because the only way to get a drink or quench their thirst was to chew "Gulbirra", kangaroo grass, or lick the dew from the leaves.

One day the short nosed bandicoot Gudjilla saw Bangarra the blue tongued lizard drying himself behind a rock, and when all the other animals heard this, they were very angry, and said to Bangarra "You must have some water hidden away! Where have you hidden it?"

Bangarra would not tell because he wanted the water for himself.

The animals called a meeting and chose Gudjilla the bandicoot to follow Bangarra wherever he went. But Bangarra was very clever and could see Gudjilla out of the corner of his eye and never revealed where the water was hidden.

The animals called another meeting and chose Jiggirrjiggirr, the little willy wagtail because he was smaller than Gudjilla and could move a lot faster in case he had to hide when Bangarra looked around when he heard someone was following. But when Jiggirrjiggirr did hide, he could not keep his black and white tail from flicking about. Bangarra still had the water hidden.

The animals did not know what to do. Bangarra was too smart. Then Gula, the rat, the smallest of all the animals said he could follow Bangarra but all the other animals laughed at him, and Midin, the ring tailed possum pushed his way in and told Gula that he was too small and should not be heard.

Gula very hurt, went his own way and crept up very close behind Bangarra, the blue tongue lizard. Now when Bangarra thought someone was following, and looked to the left, Gula the little rat would jump to the right, and when Bangarra looked to the right, Gula would jump to the left, and so it was that the little rat Gula followed the blue tongue lizard Bangarra to the spring that was hidden under a big flat rock, and when Bangarra lifted the rock to let the spring flow, Gula jumped out from hiding and frightened Bangarra away, and all the other animals praised Gula for what he had done.

The animals were so happy for all the running water bubbling from the spring, they all jumped in and began to splash water everywhere and the kingfisher was so glad, he swam to and fro, and with his beak made drains and gullies in front of the running water all the way down to the sea and that is how the small creeks and gullies were made to this very day.

The moral of this story: He who is thought of least and of no account will be the greatest.

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Find out more

For ACAP students wishing to expand their knowledge on Australian Aboriginal Culture, the following link highlights some key milestones in the disruption to Australian Aboriginal Culture; the impact on their harmonised ways with nature and confronting issues facing Aboriginal communities across generations.

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