Always Was, Always Will Be

NAIDOC Week 2020

Thursday 12 November 2020

The Marian Centre – one of our crisis accommodation and case management services – yesterday unveiled a new plaque of acknowledgement following a smoking ceremony conducted by Brendan Kerin from the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Lands Council.

“This building has been here for more than 100 years” said Carmel Mussap, Manager of our Inner West Housing and Homelessness services. “And it is time for us to properly acknowledge whose land it stands on, and to recognise the Traditional Owners”.

With ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ as the theme for this year’s NAIDOC Week, it was fitting that the ceremony took place during this annual celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As he conducted the ceremony, Brendan explained the significance of his actions. “The ceremony starts even before the leaves are picked” he said. As he is choosing the leaves he prays, with different types of leaves used according to the occasion. When the leaves are smoked, these prayers are released. He described the ceremony as “like a shower for your inside”.

Brendan shared a healing song played on the yidaki before inviting staff and clients from the Marian Centre to cleanse themselves in the smoke. The ashes from the ceremony were then buried in the Centre’s garden.

The Marian Centre and the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW would like to thank Brendan for a moving ceremony, and for sharing part of his story and his culture with us.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan outlines our commitment to being guided by Traditional Owners, Elders, organisations and communities as we work to create a more just and equitable society. Events such as yesterday’s ceremony are one of the ways in which we seek to recognise the true history of this country as we join with First Nations people on a path to healing.

Find out more about getting involved this NAIDOC week at