​Winner - Welcome Baby to Bourke Ceremony

Western NSW Local Health District​


Welcome Baby Back to Bourke is a cultural ceremony with families and the Bourke community. Introducing babies to community is a traditional practice that dates back to thousands of years through generations.

When maternity services closed in Bourke, residents were concerned about the cultural disconnect from not being able to birth on country. To address this issue, a culturally appropriate, innovative solution was sought. During its creation, the importance of it being 'owned and led' by the Bourke community was recognised. From​ that, a community-based co-design was initiated and implemented.

The ceremony reduces the cultural disconnection and gives the babies a sense of identity and belonging right from the beginning.  Babies will go into life knowing who they are and the country that they belong to. They can take pride in their culture, their traditions, and their identity. It is a significant way to connect new babies to their community, country and Aboriginal Elders.

The ceremony is facilitated by Aboriginal Elders and Health staff. It includes a traditional welcome, a formal welcome and a presentation of the children to the community. The whole family is involved and supported by other community members and importantly acknowledged by the Aboriginal Elders.

In 2021, 32 babies were welcomed in the ceremony, this number increased to 35 babies in 2022. Additionally, a special ceremony where 137 older children (3 - 21 years) were welcomed to Bourke was held. The 2023 ceremony was held 26 September with 30 babies being welcomed to Bourke.

Current as at: Thursday 12 October 2023
Contact page owner: NSW Health