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Wadandi celebration for start of Margaret River wine industry’s annual vintage

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Undalup Association's Zak Webb at last year's sundowner.
Camera IconUndalup Association's Zak Webb at last year's sundowner. Credit: Shots by Ovis

Residents will have the chance to pay their respects to Wadandi culture at a second annual gathering in Cowaramup early next month.

Brokered by the Margaret River Wine Association and Margaret River-Busselton Tourism Association in conjunction with Wadandi elders, the Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony on February 8 also serve as a welcome to the region’s vintage workforce.

As well as a talk led by elder Wayne Webb, the smoking ceremony “to cleanse and purify the spirit, body and soul” will be followed up by live music from The Nomadics and a celebration of the region’s heritage as well as the wine industry.

“Last year, we held this event for the first time, and we look forward to running it again this year,” MRWA chief executive Amanda Whiteland said.

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“The start of vintage is an incredibly special time of year in a wine region’s calendar as the seasonal workers arrive, training and preparations begin.

“Seasonal workers who come to our region are critical to our wine and tourism industry, the region’s economy and the broader community.”

MRBTA chief executive Sharna Kearney said the event also provided the chance to recognise “how privileged we are to live and work on Wadandi Boodja”.

“Our thanks goes to Dr Wayne Webb and the Undalup Association for offering this cultural ceremony, which was so warmly received by all in attendance last year,” she said.

In a message accompanying publicity for the event, Dr Webb urged people to “walk softly on country . . . and leave nothing but footprints”.

The event would also celebrate the region’s multicultural identity, with workers and visitors from other nations encouraged to display their own homelands’ flags on the day.

The celebration will be held at the Pioneer Park amphitheatre from 5.30pm on Thursday, February 8, with attendees asked to bring chairs and picnic blankets.

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