Acknowledgement of and Welcome to Country

Learn more about acknowledging Country and the difference between a Welcome to Country and an Acknowledgement of Country.

At the NSW Department of Education, we recognise the ongoing custodians of the lands and waterways where we work and live. We celebrate Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples' unique cultural and spiritual relationship to Country and acknowledge the significance of their cultures in Australia.

One of our aims is to promote greater understanding of and respect for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people and cultures in our workplaces, our schools, and in the wider community.

Ceremonies and protocols are a fundamental part of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Arranging a Welcome to Country ceremony and/or offering an Acknowledgement of Country is not only a way of showing respect for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people as this nation's ongoing custodians. By observing these protocols and participating in this cultural practice we are also promoting understanding of and respect for Aboriginal cultural practice.

All staff are encouraged to incorporate a Welcome to Country and/or an Acknowledgement of Country at every meeting, event or other gathering.

Please see the list of traditional place names to find about more about the traditional place name of your school or area.

The differences

There are significant differences between a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country.

Making it happen

Download a printable Acknowledgement of Country

If you're keen to start giving Acknowledgement of Country and would like a prompt in the right direction, why not download this Acknowledgement of Country printable (PDF 589KB)

Guidelines and protocols

Download the guidelines and protocols for NSW public schools (PDF 487.76KB)

An Acknowledgment in Auslan

This video demonstrates an Acknowledgment of Country in Auslan, given by Noah Kanj (Year 12) and Corey Emanuel (Year 10) students at Robert Townson High School. Auslan sign language is the first language for both young men. The Auslan video dictionary can also help you learn to give an Acknowledgement using sign language.

Acknowledgement of Country using Auslan


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