After a break of two long years, Awabakal Ltd finally got to hold one of their community favourite events: The Awabakal Baby Welcoming Ceremony.
There were three ceremonies that was held for mums and bubs who use our Awabakal Aboriginal Medical Service across the four regions.
“We’ve held our Baby Welcoming Ceremonies since 2015 and after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, we’re glad to be back,” said CEO Raylene Gordon.
“The ceremonies have great cultural significance and also provide Awabakal with the opportunity to connect families with their Aboriginal community, infant and maternal healthcare services in the region,” she said.
Across Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Raymond Terrace and Maitland 200 First Nations children who were born in these regions since 2020 had participated in one of these ceremonies, with another 50 having their photos taken to be displayed in their local clinics.
Each ceremony kicked off with a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony, followed by a blessing from local Aboriginal Elders.
“Our ceremonies relate to the tradition of introducing new babies to the community where the Elders welcome them to the land. It is important that our babies grow up knowing their identity and connection to Country,” Ms Gordon said.
This year the events have been supported by nib Foundation who saw the social and emotional health benefits of the Ceremonies on First Nations children and their families.
“Bringing families together, connecting to culture and fostering relationships between baby, family and healthcare, we want to show that we’re here to support each other through life and health,” said Ms Gordon.