Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef acknowledges that we
work, live and play on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land.
We pay our respects to elders past, present and future.
Recognising Our Traditional Custodians
Tropical North Queensland is the only region in Australia with two distinct Indigenous cultures; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been continuously active longer than any other culture on the planet.
Welcome to Country
Protocols for welcoming visitors to Country have been a part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for thousands of years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups had clear boundaries separating their Country from that of other groups. Crossing into another group’s Country required a request for permission to enter. When permission was granted the hosting group would welcome the visitors, offering them safe passage and protection of their spiritual being during the journey. While visitors were provided with a safe passage, they also had to respect the protocols and rules of the landowner group while on their Country.
Today, much has changed, and these protocols have been adapted to contemporary circumstances. However, the essential elements of welcoming visitors and offering safe passage remain in place. A Welcome to Country occurs at the beginning of a formal event and can take many forms including singing, dancing, smoking ceremonies or a speech in traditional language or English. A Welcome to Country is delivered by Traditional Owners, or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been given permission from Traditional Owners, to welcome visitors to their Country.
Acknowledgement of Country
An Acknowledgement of Country is an opportunity for anyone to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to Country. It can be given by both non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. There are no set protocols or wording for an Acknowledgement of Country, though often a statement may take the following forms:
“I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today. I would also like to pay my respects to Elders past and present.”
“I’d like to begin by acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we meet today, the (people) of the (nation) and pay my respects to Elders past and present.”
Similar to a Welcome to Country, an Acknowledgement of Country is generally offered at the beginning of a meeting, speech or formal occasion. Contacts for Traditional Custodians in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef can be downloaded below.
At Your Event
There are many Traditional Custodians of the lands on Tropical North Queensland. When you hold your business event here, we invite you to recognise them and pay your respects to elders past, present and future. Here are four areas that provide a Welcome To Country or Acknowledgement to Country service in Cairns & Great Barrier Reef: