Dance is an important part of ceremony. Aboriginal culture is a predominantly oral culture – before colonisation there was no written language, so all knowledge was passed on and taught via stories, song and dance.

Dancing is how we interact with the Dreamtime and bring to life the stories our Elders tell us about creation.

Before colonisation, ceremonies would be large with lots of singing and dancing. Everyone would be painted up and would wear many adornments that weren’t for everyday use.


A Welcome to Country and ceremony performed by members of the five clans of the Kulin Nation (the five language groups who are the traditional owners of the Port Phillip region).

Image Source: Timeout Melbourne, Tanderrum.



Tanderrum is a ceremony bringing together the Wurundjeri/Woiwurrung, Boon Wurrung, Taungurung, Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung language groups of the Eastern Kulin Nation. This sacred ceremony had been hidden since European invasion. However in recent years the Eastern Kulin have brought Tanderrum back to central Melbourne to open the Melbourne International Arts Festival.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website may contain images, voices or names of deceased persons in photographs, film, audio recordings or printed material. To listen to our Acknowledgement of Country, click here.