Ancient Aboriginal Ceremonies
The development of new and exciting Aboriginal tourism and cultural experiences in the City of Perth and day trip destinations have opened up a world of opportunity to learn and marvel at the amazing spiritual connection Perth’s first people, the Whadjuk People of the Nyoongar Nation have with their Country and the natural environment around them.
We ventured out on tour to discover what significance these age-old Aboriginal Ceremonies held and where they are taking place.
Welcome to Country
Sand and Water Ceremony
Sand and Water Ceremonies are a traditional Nyoongar ritual undertaken prior to accessing a river, lake or the sea. By holding some sand from the foreshore of the waterbody, participants are guided to release the sand into the water to let the Waugal (a snake or rainbow serpent in Aboriginal Dreamtime), know of your presence. The Waugal is recognised as the giver of life, maintaining all fresh water sources. This ritual is a show of respect and care for Country and the cultural landscape.
Where to experience an authentic Aboriginal Ceremony
Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences
Go Cultural Aboriginal Tours and Experiences was Perth’s first ever winner of the Qantas Award for Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism in the Western Australian, and Australian Tourism Awards in 2018.
Walter McGuire, Go Cultural owner and tour guide can be seen on any given day delivering a spine-tingling Welcome to Country; Smoking Ceremony; or Sand and Water Ceremony at one of his Perth City and Rottnest Island tour locations, or community and corporate events. Walter’s deeply spiritual connection and wonderful way of bringing his audience in to share these ancient customs make it both immersive and engaging.
Book with Go Cultural at www.gocultural.com.au for Perth tours at Elizabeth Quay; Kings Park; Yagan Square; and Rottnest Island.
Kerry-Ann Winmar, owner and tour guide at Nyungar Tours offers a unique female perspective as she welcomes her guests to her tour sites at Kings Park and the South Perth Foreshore.
Kerry-Ann shares family stories passed down through generations, uncovers significant cultural sites, and identifies medicinal plants and bush foods in the gardens. You can touch and feel traditional Aboriginal artefacts and ochres (type of clay used to paint the face and body for Ceremonies, art works, rock painting, artefacts and sometimes even on sand).
Book with Nyungar Tours at www.nyungartours.com.au for Kings Park and South Perth cultural walking tours with Spectacular views of the Swan River and Perth City.
Kaarak Dreaming, Maitland’s Cultural Tours
Maitland Hill of Kaarak Dreaming is an Aboriginal tour operator, award-winning artist, and guide based in Dwellingup, a day trip destination around 1 hour and 15 minutes south-east of Perth. In the beautiful Dwellingup forest adjoining the Forest Discovery Centre, Maitland presents an enchanting Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony before demonstrating a range of Aboriginal cultural artefacts then taking tour participants on a cultural walking tour through the forest.
Book with Kaarak Dreaming at www.kaarakdreaming.com.au for tours in Dwellingup; Nanga Brook, Lane Poole Reserve; Jarrahdale; and Art on Country locations.
Justin Martin, Djurandi Dreaming owner, guide and accomplished artist can be found welcoming locals, school groups and visitors to Elizabeth Quay in Perth; in Rockingham (around 40 minutes south west of Perth); and across town for various art workshops and community projects.
Justin represents a new generation of young Aboriginal tour guides and creatives contributing to the colour and vibrancy of Perth.
Book with Djurandi Dreaming at www.djurandi.com.au for Perth tours at Elizabeth Quay; day trips to Rockingham at Point Perron, Lake Walyungup or Lake Richmond (featuring Sand and Water Ceremonies); or choose your own location for an art workshop or group canvas.
Nick Abraham, owner and tour guide at Warrang-Bridil has launched Perth’s newest Aboriginal cultural tour ‘Modern Gateway to an Ancient City’ on the Burswood Swan River Foreshore and Optus Stadium Precinct, just 10 minutes east of the Perth CBD or a few minutes’ walk from Crown Perth hotels, casino and entertainment precinct.
The tour starts with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony on the banks of the Swan River and is followed by a hands-on Sand and Water Ceremony. You will be dazzled by the 360 degree views over the river to the Perth City skyline, majestic black swans, Matagarup Bridge, thriving wetlands and the impressive precinct and structure of Optus Stadium featuring acknowledgements to Nyoongar culture.
Book with Warrang-Bridil at www.warrang-bridil.com.au for the Ancient Gateway to a Modern City tour, a Ceremony, or presentation.
We acknowledge the Whadjuk Nyoongar people, Traditional Owners of the lands and waters where the City of Perth is today and pay our respects to Elders past and present.
Ceremony descriptions are based on tour experiences with the businesses featured. All operators are 100% Aboriginal owned and operated; members of the Western Australian Indigenous Tourism Operators Council (WAITOC); and have participated in tourism and workforce development programs co-funded by the City of Perth. Images courtesy of WAITOC, Go Cultural and Breakaway Tourism