WugulOra Morning Ceremony

WugulOra meaning - One Mob - A time for inclusion, understanding and reconciliation – a sacred and reflective start to Australia Day.


07:30 AM - 08:30 AM

26 January 2022


Walumil Lawns Barangaroo Reserve

Walumil Lawns Barangaroo Reserve, Barangaroo, NSW, 2000

Important Information

Free access


Our nation’s story began more than 65,000 years ago. First Nations Australians are the foundation of our nation’s story and continue to maintain the world's oldest living culture.

As the sun rises on 26 January, we take the time to:

  • honour the traditional custodians of the land on which we gather, the Gadigal people of the Eora nation,
  • acknowledge our shared history,
  • listen to local elders,
  • witness the passing down of culture,
  • reflect on the strength and resilience of First Nations Australians.

As an ancient Smoking Ceremony cleanses the way for new beginnings, the WugulOra Morning Ceremony celebrates the world’s oldest living culture through dance, music and language.

Witness special performances by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dancers and singers, including the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe.

Listen to the national anthem in English and Eora, the local Aboriginal language. 

The WugulOra Morning Ceremony is held at Headland Stage, Barangaroo Reserve. Barangaroo is named after a Cammeraygal woman, who was a powerful leader of her people at the time of European colonisation. Her story is an important and empowering part of our shared history – not only for First Nations Australians, but for the entire nation.

This ceremony is supported by the National Australia Day Council, which is assisted by the Australian Government.


WugulOra Morning Ceremony

The WugulOra (one Mob) Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve is a reminder that Australia’s First Nations people are the foundation of Australia’s story and caretakers of the world's oldest continual culture. The ceremony celebrates the Gadigal people of the Eora nation through music, dance, language and ceremony. The event will also be broadcast live on ABC TV and streamed on iview.

WugulOra is a free event open to the public. Everyone is welcome to attend this unique event.

The ceremony and much of the Sydney program is guided by First Nations representatives and features many First Nations artists showcasing the richness and historical significance of culture through modern and meaningful performances. The event is also co-curated with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC).

See 2021 photo highlights


  • Timings: 7:30am – 8:30am
  • Designated accessible viewing
  • The ceremony will be hosted on the Walimul Lawns at Barangaroo Reserve
  • Barangaroo Reserve is open parkland with many accessible options. Entry via Towns Place will provide relatively level pedestrian pathways to the ceremony site
  • Access to the Wilsons carpark off Towns Place is via Dalgety Rd
  • There will be an auslan interpreter on site, who will also interpret in Aboriginal language and the ABC will have closed captioning available through IView for TV viewers
  • The Auslan interpreter will be positioned on stage in front of the accessible viewing area
  • First Aid will be onsite
  • Guests will have access to the existing precinct accessible amenities
  • Water Refill – permanent water refill locations are located across Barangaroo Reserve
  • Register for this accessible viewing area

For more information, please contact Karen Wade, Accessibility and Inclusion Officer, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, on 9228 4613 or email on [email protected]

About the Smoking Ceremony

The Smoking Ceremony flame recognises the survival of the world’s oldest culture. Lit on Me-Mel (also known as Goat Island), the flame burns through the night and then travels to Barangaroo on 26 January.

A Smoking Ceremony is an ancient ritual where native leaves are burnt to produce smoke. Depending on the leaves used, the smoke:

  • wards off bad spirits
  • acknowledges ancestors
  • pays respect to the land and sea of country
  • cleanses the way for new beginnings.

In the video below, Uncle Max Harrison (a Yuin Elder) and Dean Kelly (a Yuin man), talk about the meaning and significance of the Smoking Ceremony. 

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.

Read video transcript.

History of the WugulOra Morning Ceremony

The WugulOra Morning Ceremony has been a special feature of the Australia Day in Sydney program since 2003.

At the heart of this ceremony is the communication of culture through music, dance and language.

Its first iteration, as the Woggan-ma-gule Ceremony, was staged in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney from 2003; and continued until 2012.

It was renamed WugulOra, meaning ‘one mob’ and moved to the northern boardwalk of the Sydney Opera House in 2013.

Since 2016, the WugulOra Morning Ceremony has been held at Barangaroo Reserve and televised nationally.

The NSW Government partners with the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council to ensure content, messaging and representation is appropriate.

Important information

Being COVID Safe is a responsibility we all share

Practice safe behaviour wherever you go. Check nsw.gov.au/covid-19 for health and wellbeing advice, case locations, symptoms, testing clinics and what you can and can't do under the rules.

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