It is a sign of respect to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land. Today, it is common protocol for businesses, Local Governments, conferences and forums, official openings and ceremonies, and other events for Welcomes to Country to be performed by an Aboriginal custodian of the land. Metro are the custodians of the lands within our boundaries, and as part of this duty we carry out Welcomes to Country on behalf of our members.
Metro have 3 Cultural Representatives who do our Welcome to Country they are respected Gadigal Elder Uncle Charles (Chicka) Madden, Donna Ingram and Michael West.
Please see short bio’s below.
UNCLE CHARLES (CHICKA) MADDEN
Uncle Chicka is a respected Sydney Elder. He has lived in and around the Redfern and inner city area most of his life serving the Aboriginal community as Director or the Aboriginal Medical Service, Secretary of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, Director of the Aboriginal Hostels NSW and is a life member of the Redfern All Blacks. Along with being an active community leader, Uncle Chicka is also an important artist creating a number of ceremic sculptures and paintings inspired by his Gadigal country. He has been commissioned to create a number of works including a painting for St Vincent’s Health Australia and an istallation for the Redfern Community Centre’s Elders Lounge in collaboratoin with Nicole Monks.
I was born, and raised in Sydney all of my life. I am a Mother of 4 children. I am a Cultural Representative and long standing member of Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
I have worked in Aboriginal affairs and community organisations in Sydney for past 25 years (mostly in education). I am a former ATSIC Councillor – Sydney Regional Council.
I am a Graduate of the Indigenous Women’s Leadership Development Program – (former) Office of Indigenous Policy Co-ordination (OIPC).
I am involved in several community consultation groups especially in regards to women’s issues and NAIDOC week in the Redfern/inner city area.
Michael is a long standing member and says it is an honour to be one of the Cultural Representative of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC) who are the custodians of the Land, Air, Water and Culture within their boundaries.
He is a member of the Stolen Generations and was born on Gadigal & Eora land in Sydney, and has always lived on Eora land (Gadigal, Wangal & Bediagal).
Michael found his family at Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and of course MLALC has a very special place in his life.
He is a proud Aboriginal man of he Gamilaroi Nation from Moree, Mungindu and Texas and a direct descendant of King Cubby of Boomi on his maternal side and as most Stolen Generations does not know his whole history and heritage.
Michael has over 10 years in community organisations and 20 years in state & federal government. His operating consultancy “Guwaali” focused on Reconciliation, by networking and partnerships.
Everyone has an intrinsic value, it’s upon us, the individuals, the communities and society to support and develop capabilities to enable the achievement of dreams and aspirations. He believes change is inevitable and its starts with the person in the mirror.
Really putting things in perspective in 2010, was participating in a Repatriation Ceremony of Ancestral remains ‘Stolen’ 120 and 140 years agon taken to Europe and England, helping their spirit achieve rest by returning them to their ancestral country in Sydney.
Requests for Welcomes to Country can be made through Metro’s office by completing a request form. Please note requests for Welcome to Country are in high demand and should be booked in advance.
Metro have also developed a 'Welcome to Country Protocols' for your information which is available to download.Download