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The Women’s and Children’s Health Network acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of Country throughout South Australia. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing and deep spiritual connection and relationship to land, air, sea, waters, community and country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

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Smoking Ceremony cleanses New WCH site

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nWCH News
Posted 30 Apr 2024

In anticipation for the formal start of construction at the new Women’s and Children’s Hospital site, an Aboriginal smoking ceremony was performed to cleanse and heal the ground.

The ceremony ensures appropriate cultural protocols are followed and embedded into the new hospital.

Led by Kaurna elder Uncle Mickey O’Brien, this continuing traditional Aboriginal custom and practice cleansed the site prior to works commencing on the multi-level New WCH car park and central energy plant.

This practice recognised the land's heritage, both colonial history and long-standing heritage, and the connection Aboriginal people have with this land. In doing so, the land is now prepared for its new use. A smoking ceremony involves the burning of native plants which produces cleansing smoke, to acknowledge Kaurna ancestors and pay respect to Country, waters, and seas.

Uncle Mickey also performed a Welcome to Country to attending guests from the Kaurna Yerta Aboriginal Corporation (KYAC), and representatives from WCHN and the New WCH Project Team.

The new hospital will include dedicated spaces and services for Aboriginal health and wellbeing. These include Taikurrinthi (Aboriginal Liaison Unit), Ngangkita Ngartu (Aboriginal Family Birthing Program), the Aboriginal Resource Centre and an Aboriginal healing garden.

The Project Team and Design Team will continue to work with Aboriginal consumers and staff to incorporate Aboriginal healing practices and Aboriginal cultural practices into the design of the New WCH.