Welcome to Country
by Linda Carr
The Wooden Boat Festival committee is proud to be incorporating “Welcome to Country” as part of the festival’s official opening on Saturday 12 March at 4.00pm. This will be conducted by Aunty Corrina O’Toole and didgeridoo player Norm Stanley(both from the Wathaurong Co-operative). Corrina is the great, great, great grand-daughter of Queen Mary Robinson, who was one of the last Waddawurrung living on the reserve at Mt Dundeed.
Contrary to perceptions, Welcome to Country is not a recent invention but is an ancient Indigenous tradition that was practiced when one Indigenous community sought permission to enter another clan’s traditional land. The ceremony varied from clan to clan using traditional language.
The “WATHAURONG” ( wada warrung) is a recognised tribe, it consisted of 25 groups (clans). The boundaries of Wathaurong are from Geelong - North to Werribee River, North West to Bacchus Marsh, South West to Cressy, South East to Colac, East to Lorne & North back to Geelong encompassing the Bellarine. Therefore there is much of our waterways and waterfront that forms part of Country.