Ritual and ceremony are an integral part of First Peoples’ life and culture which is inseparable from Country. Today most Australians across the continent are familiar with the protocol called Welcome to Country often used as an opening ceremony. It is conducted by one or more members of the local group of First Peoples who have on-going links to that region or Country, and it is performed to open most public events, small and large, to acknowledge and show respect to both the Country and its custodians.

Sometimes it is a simple ceremony involving a few words from an elder who welcomes you to their Country and tells you something about it and their relationship to that Country. At other times the welcome is more elaborate using smoke to cleanse and bless those assembled. A welcome may include dancers using body paint and head bands, and musicians with the didgeridoo and clap sticks to keep the beat.

The welcome ceremony is based on the traditional practice of giving permission to enter someone else’s Country. Strangers had to camp outside the perimeters of the place they wished to visit with a smoky fire to let the custodians know they were waiting for permission to enter. In such a dynamic culture the structure and purpose of ceremony will change over time from place to place. Welcoming people to Country pays respect to the continuing connection of First Peoples and their culture to the place where the Welcome occurs. It provides the opportunity for all people to show respect for the continuing presence of traditional owners on the lands where they are all meeting.



Educational information

Land, Water & Sky Country

Connection curator Margo Ngawa Neale explains the meaning of Country to First Peoples across Land, Water and Sky.



Learn about the significant roles that the land's natural features play as memory aids in First Peoples' cultures.



Learn about some of the recurring symbols used in First Peoples' art for millennia.


Art of the First Peoples

Art is culture made visible; a way of affirming connection to place, to Country and to each other. Discover the traditional and contemporary methods of storytelling being employed by First Nations artists.



Spanning traditional ceremonial songs, iconic First Nations musicians and contemporary cuts, the Connection soundtrack is a vital complement to the experience's visuals.

Back to top
New Family, Child & Student pricing available. Book now.
Enjoy immersive Wellness classes at THE LUME. Book now.