Welcome To Country

Aunty Joy Murphy, Lisa Kennedy

Welcome To Country
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Welcome To Country

Aunty Joy Murphy, Lisa Kennedy

Winner of the Environment Award for Children’s Literature (Picture Book category) 2017

Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy is a most respected senior Wurundjeri elder of the Kulin alliance.

This is a very accessible welcome that introduces and gives meaning and explanation within the text to the customs and symbols of Indigenous Australia.

Aboriginal communities across Australia have boundaries that are defined by mountain ranges and waterways. Traditionally, to cross these boundaries or enter community country you needed permission from the neighbouring community. When this permission was granted the ceremony now called Welcome to Country took place. Each community had its own way of welcoming to country, and they still do today.


Finally, Melbourne has its very own picture book celebrating the original inhabitants of the city – the Wurundjeri people. Welcome to Country is a spectacular celebration of Indigenous land and culture that takes us through a beautiful Wominjeka (welcome) ceremony which gives yannabil (visitors) permission to enter traditional lands. Each community has its own way of welcoming to country, but in this book we learn about the tree sacred to the Wurundjeri – the River White Gum. We also learn of the creator spirit, Bunjil the eagle. The story has been written by well-respected Senior Wurundjeri Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy. The stunning illustrations by Lisa Kennedy are painted acrylic depictions of waterways, night skies, native flora and fauna of the area, and images of the ancestors around campfires, gathering food and celebrating.

Welcome to Country is a resoundingly beautiful book that invites us to recognise the traditional lands that lie beneath our feet and to celebrate local Indigenous culture. This book belongs on every home bookshelf and in every library so that all Australians can learn about and respect the cultural importance of a welcome to country.

Angela Crocombe is the Children’s Book Buyer at Readings Carlton.

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