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Welcome Baby to Country, an adorable success!

Amarnii Kelly, with Elder, Aunty Heather Meini

Last Thursday, amidst the tranquil gardens of Darling Park, bathed in sunshine, 102 bright-eyed children became a part of the Bourke community at the annual Welcome Baby to Bourke Community Ceremony.

The project is a key initiative of the Maranguka Early Childhood and Parenting Working Group and was made possible through coordination with various government and non-government organisations, including the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD).

Pat Canty, WNSWLHD Manager of Aboriginal Partnerships in the Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Directorate, organised and emceed the event and said the ceremony “is significant for our babies, especially for Aboriginal babies, as they can be born away from Bourke and that can impact their cultural ties to the land.”

“Introducing our babies to the community is a traditional practice that has been happening for generations and dates back thousands of years” Pat said.

“Today also allows us to remember our elders, particularly Aunty Ruby, whose photo is in front of me.

“Unfortunately, we lost Aunty Ruby not too long ago, the last of the traditional Aboriginal midwives.

“This ceremony must acknowledge her and the work she did for many years at Enngonia, Bourke, and all around our district.

“When the decision was made that we would be no longer able to birth in Bourke over 20 years ago, this ceremony was put into action,” Pat continued.

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