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Welcome to Country for station openings

  • Aboriginal Elder Uncle Ron Jones conducts a Welcome to Country at a CFA event - photo BLAIR DELLEMIJN

By: CFA News

Category: Partnerships, Vehicles / Equipment / Buildings

  9.32 AM 9 November, 2015

Location: General

Views: 2220

From the beginning of 2016, all fire station openings will include a ‘Welcome to Country’ address to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land.

Welcome to Country is a ceremonial practice conducted by a local Aboriginal elder, usually through speech, story or song.

Former Chief Officer Euan Ferguson described station openings as significant events for not only the brigade but the community as a whole.

“It’s a coming together, not just for brigade members but for local leaders and dignitaries, family, friends, and emrgency services colleagues,” he said.

“By nature these events are highly ceremonial and symbolic, so this is about adding to that sense of occasion and history.

“CFA is an iconic organisation that is part of the fabric of our communities. It’s important we involve and extend appropriate respect to the traditional custodians of the land.

“Like ourselves, they have a deep respect of fire and a tradition of seeking to build and improve on knowledge about the application of fire and the management of land.

“We respect the knowledge, stories and practice of fire held by the Aboriginal peoples,” he said. 

Where requested by the brigade, station openings can also include a smoking ceremony. These ceremonies, linked to the process of cleansing or renewal, involve the use of native plants to produce smoke.

Both Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony will be included in the package of service around fire station openings via CFA’s Land & Building Services department.

Last Updated: 09 November 2015