Uncle Andrew Johnston gives the Welcome to Country at the 2021 Australia Day ceremony in Kyogle.
Uncle Andrew Johnston gives the Welcome to Country at the 2021 Australia Day ceremony in Kyogle.

Indigenous culture honoured in Australia Day ceremony

For the first time, the Kyogle Australia Day ceremony honoured indigenous culture with a smoking ceremony.

Gidabal man Andrew Johnston gave the traditional land owners acknowledgment on Tuesday in Kyogle to kick off the annual Australia Day Awards.

But it was a new sight for many to see the traditional smoking ceremony part of proceedings.

Kyogle Lions Club Australia Day event committee chair Francis O'Reilly said Mr Johnston had this year approached the committee asking to be a part of the ceremony.

"Since the Lions Club have hosted Australia Day, we normally don't do (a smoking ceremony)," Mr O'Reilly said.

 

Uncle Andrew Johnston gives the Welcome to Country at the 2021 Australia Day ceremony in Kyogle.
Uncle Andrew Johnston gives the Welcome to Country at the 2021 Australia Day ceremony in Kyogle.

 

"He asked us if he could do that, it's the first time that's happened in our history.

"It's good to see the indigenous community are willing to be a part of Australia Day."

Those who gathered to celebrate the day seemed to also appreciate the incorporation of honouring traditional people of the land.

During Mr Johnston's address, where he talked about the importance of incorporating "cultural fires" into land management practices", there was loud applause to his proposals of caring for the region which is steeped in "strong culture".

Lions Club member Roz Knight said this year's Australia Day theme that 'We are all part of the story' seemed to have resonated with many people in the community.

"They all love it," she said.

"The slogan has really brought us all together."



‘You may be able to dance’ at Bluesfest Byron Bay

Premium Content ‘You may be able to dance’ at Bluesfest Byron Bay

Organisers have offered some more details on what the festival will be like for...

Nine times more speeding fines as warnings removed

Premium Content Nine times more speeding fines as warnings removed

Questions have been raised about Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s policy of...

Motorists caught in flash flooding on Gold Coast

Premium Content Motorists caught in flash flooding on Gold Coast

The Queensland Ambulance Service has urged motorists to keep clear