The Story Behind Smoking Ceremonies

Recently, NACC NRM’s Aboriginal Administration Trainee Taj Mamid had the privilege of attending the Smoking Ceremony, part of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA) unveiling of their new boat, Manyin.

Our Kwelena Mambakort Aboriginal Corporation (KMAC) crew were invited to perform a Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony. Yued elder Charlie Shaw and KMAC Ranger Kane Shaw performed the Welcome to Country, while KMAC Ranger Chris McPhee performed the Smoking Ceremony, smoking all the attendees and the new boat.  A. Marine Park Coordinator Toby Larke from the Department of Parks and Wildlife Services (DPAWS) was nice enough to invite us on the first ride on the new boat and it was a wonderful and informative experience.

Smoking Ceremonies have multiple purposes but it is most often used as a welcome to a particular area and cleanse an area or person. It can also be used as a sign of respect for people and the passing of elders. Majority of mobs from different areas around the country follow a similar procedure when performing a smoking ceremony using coals and wet leaves to produce the smoke.

The main way a smoking ceremony takes place is for someone to carry around a wooden dish holding coals and wet leaves around every one or there may be a set smoking site for people to gather around so that they can walk through the smoke.

Taj Mamid – MARP Administration Support Officer

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Smoking Ceremonies were introduced to Australia by David Gullpilil

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