Parbin-ata Dr Carolyn Briggs AM at the 2020 ceremony with Michael Julian (left) and John-Wayne Parsons.

Australia Day will again dawn in Port Phillip with an award-winning Indigenous ceremony featuring the culture and history of the Boonwurrung Traditional Owners conveyed through readings, music and a smoking ceremony.

The We-Akon Dilinja (Mourning-Reflection) ceremony also includes a community component with readings by local representatives including multi-faith leaders.

The COVIDSafe ceremony, held by Port Phillip Council in collaboration with the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council (BLSC), with the support of the National Australia Day Council, starts at 6 am at Alfred Square, St Kilda. Bookings are encouraged at TryBooking.

The ceremony will also be livestreamed for the first time via the We-Akon Dilinja page on Council's website.

In 2020, Port Phillip Council became the first local government to present an event of this kind, which received tremendous positive feedback from the community.

The inaugural event also received a Recognition of Continued Excellence in Reconciliation in the Local Government category of Reconciliation Victoria’s 2020 awards and won the Indigenous category in the Sustainable Cities awards.

“We are very proud to again join with the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council in presenting this Australia Day event, which can be viewed around the nation on our livestream,” Mayor Louise Crawford said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined the importance of connection. This ceremony is an opportunity for us all to come together to reflect on the past as we move forward as a community and country and we hope it encourages more councils to embrace this inclusive concept,” Cr Crawford said.

BLSC N’Arweet Jason Briggs said this year’s theme is Remembrance, Reflection and Recognition. “These inspiring principles reflect the extent of the partnership the sole representative organisation of Boonwurrung Traditional Owners, the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council, has developed with the City of Port Phillip,” N’Arweet Briggs said.

“The Boonwurrung People have occupied our land since time immemorial and this ceremony on our national day is an important step in acknowledging our shared history with other Australians who now call our traditional Country home.

“It is our hope that this shared Ceremonial acknowledgement will lead to a greater engagement, recognition and appreciation of Boonwurrung cultural heritage and history which has been carried forward, over time, by each generation to the present day.”

The usual Australia Day Citizenship Ceremony will follow later that day at the St Kilda Town Hall.


Event MC – Bo Svoronos
5.30 am – arrival requested
6.00 am – Didgeridoo player – Sean Ryan
6.01 am – Boonwurrung Welcome song – John Wayne-Parsons (lead vocals) accompanied by Michael Julian (percussion)
6.02 am – Welcome to Country and Introduction – Parbin-ata Dr Carolyn Briggs AM
6.07 am – Josh Burns MP
6.09 am – Bunjil Naglingu (Boonwurrung song) – Jess Hitchcock
6.11 am – 1st reading – Janet Galpin
6.13 am – Maori/Christ Church prayer – Fr Turi Hollis
6.15 am – Shofar with Jewish prayer – Rabbi Yaakov Glassman
6.17 am – 2nd reading – Cr Louise Crawford, City of Port Phillip Mayor
6.19 am – Tribute to past Boonwurrung Elders – Parbin-ata Dr Carolyn Briggs AM and Michael Julian (on clapsticks)
6.25 am – 3rd reading – Dick Gross, former City of Port Phillip Mayor
6.27 am – Irmer Ter Ge (Torres Strait Islander songs) – John Wayne-Parsons (lead vocals) accompanied by Cisco (guitar), Michael Julian (percussion) and Lukey Captain (backing vocals)
6.30 am – Smoking Ceremony – David Tournier
7.00 am – close

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