Recognition of Traditional Owners

Monash University respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures. Recognising Traditional Owners is important and all staff and students are encouraged to do so. There are two ways for Monash staff and students to formally recognise Traditional Owners: a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country.

Welcome to Country

The Welcome to Country ceremony recognises the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian culture and history and is a significant customary gesture.

Only the Traditional Owners of the land you are standing on can give a Welcome to Country. The ceremony welcomes all people at the event to the land. In turn, attendees are asked to respect the land and traditions of those who walked upon it for millennia before us.

The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) advises the University on which groups are appointed to particular lands and waters.

To seek support and advice on who the Traditional Owners are at your campus, please contact the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous)

Acknowledgement of Country

An Acknowledgment of Country allows the wider community (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to show respect for and acknowledge the Traditional Owners; their rich culture, their heritage and their continued relationship with the lands and waters. It demonstrates that we value and recognise the Traditional Owners' customary place within Australian society today.

Anyone can make an Acknowledgement of Country. It does not have to be an Indigenous person and Indigenous people may or may not be present. Most Monash events should begin with an Acknowledgement of Country from the chair or host. The host may also acknowledge the presence of Elders and community members from other lands/clans.

When do I make an Acknowledgement of Country?

  • When a local Traditional Owner is not available to do a Welcome to Country,
  • At any University run/hosted meeting, gathering, seminar, forum, conference or the like,
  • At the beginning of all annual general meetings, council and board meetings.

Who do I Acknowledge?

At Monash University campuses and sites in Melbourne, we acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nations. This is inclusive of all groups in the area. The traditional Aboriginal name of Melbourne is Naarm and Naarm is on the traditional lands of the Kulin Nation. The Kulin Nation is a collective of five Aboriginal clans: Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung, Wathaurrung, Taungurung and Dja dja wurrung.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the:

  • Wurundjeri people at the Parkville campus
  • Bunurong people at the Peninsula, Clayton and Caulfield campuses

Learn more and view the Welcome to Country and Acknowledgements Map.

What do I say?

For Monash University campuses and sites in Melbourne, the following is suggested:

I wish to acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nations, on whose land we are gathered today. I pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

Contextualising your Acknowledgement demonstrates a respectful understanding of the importance of Indigenous people, history, cultures and knowledge. Think about the influence and contributions of Indigenous people and cultures in your faculty, area of research, conference topics, etc.

Where can I find more information?

Our staff can access the University’s Brand Book for further advice on arranging a Welcome to Country or delivering an Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners respectfully.