Integral to the identity of the University of Melbourne are the myriad ways tradition underpins all areas of university life. To launch each new year, a Wominjeka (Welcome) event on the Parkville Campus acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, upon whose land we study and work. This Welcome to Country, which includes a Smoking Ceremony, is arguably one of the oldest rituals in the world.
Following this traditional welcome, each academic year proceeds in conjunction with the ceremonies that underscore the purpose of such an institution. Graduations, announcements, openings, processions, dedications, retirements, awards, orientations, and even memorial services all come together to define the unique identity of an institution still holding strong to its values of tradition while simultaneously progressing its own contemporary identity.
The Quad Collections display at Old Quad showcases the University’s most significant ceremonial objects. These tangible pieces of history shed light on the communities that came together to build the University of Melbourne, and include the heritage Council Chamber furniture, the University mace, and Mandy Nicholson’s possum skin cloak, among other highlights.
Image: Mandy Nicholson, Possum Skin Cloak, 2014. University of Melbourne Collection