Acknowledgement of Country

Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong (CEDoW) acknowledges the traditional owners of the lands upon which our children learn and play, the local Aboriginal peoples of the Dharawal, Gundungurra, and Yuin Nations. 

We pay respect to their Peoples and culture, recognising their continuing connection to land, water, and communities. It is with the greatest of respect, we acknowledge Elders, past, present, and emerging, and extend our deepest gratitude for the cultural, spiritual, and educational practices that continue to enrich the life of our Catholic school communities. 

Our Diocese includes four main regions: the Illawarra, Macarthur, Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven. These regions of the Diocese mostly correspond to diverse Aboriginal nations of the Dharawal, Gundungurra and Yuin nations.


Schools are required to ensure that significant school gatherings include a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgement of Country.

Recognising Aboriginal people as traditional custodians of the land is an important part of showing respect for the Aboriginal peoples. There are a variety of ways to acknowledge Aboriginal traditional custodians, which fall into two categories:



Welcome to Country gives custodians the opportunity to formally welcome people to their land from other parts of the country and other countries. This is done as a ceremony or an oral welcome from a custodial representative.


Acknowledgement of Country usually occurs when traditional custodians are not available to provide an official Welcome to Country, or the scale of the function does not warrant a traditional welcome. Acknowledgement of Country is a way that the wider community can show respect for Aboriginal protocol, and acknowledge the ongoing relationships between the traditional custodians and the spiritual and cultural practices of the local area. It is a significant and symbolic reconciliation gesture.

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