Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy

Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy (Black Dog Books, an imprint of Walker Books Australia)

Judges' Comments

Welcome to Country offers exactly what its title suggests: it explores the meaning of Country to the Wurundjeri people introducing Country, its stories, paths and values. However, what is so special is that Wurundjeri Elder Aunty Joy Murphy provides an accessible, personal and very moving account of Aboriginal connection with the land, within the formal manner of the Welcome to Country ceremony.

The text is complemented by Lisa Kennedy’s earth-toned illustrations, which set stylised human figures in landscapes filled with Wurundjeri images from story, perhaps reminiscent of the work of Wurundjeri Elder and artist William Barak, who is the author’s great-great-uncle. Welcome to Country should be in every school and public library in Australia. It is a warm welcome to a deeper understanding of the meaning of Country and reinvests the acknowledgement of Country with the resonance it deserves to carry.