If you’re a history buff and planning a trip to Australia, you’re going to want to download the Welcome to Country app tout de suite. The super-educational app was created to clue people in on the local history of indigenous Australia and the traditional owners of the land that is now mostly urbanized and populated with non-indigenous people. More than 500 nations existed in Australia prior to colonization, and Welcome to Country wants to show people the cultural significance of different areas.
Isn't this glorious.
— Kon Karapanagiotidis (@Kon__K) July 24, 2015
The app was created by Tyson Mowarin from production company Weerianna Street Media, who wanted to educate others about the country’s diverse historical and cultural backgrounds.
“The aim is to get Welcome to Country out there so Australians are acknowledging the 500 nations that existed here before settlement,” Mowarin told Mashable. “It would be good if any kid in any school could tell you whose country they live on.”
Using GPS tracking the user can log into the app and be welcomed to country with a video from a local elder. A local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander from the area will welcome people to their land and often the video introduction includes a speech or dance.
The app features a series of videos which include information about the local area shared by elders from that region. They also share information about local flora and fauna and their language.
Today there are approximately only 2.4 per cent of indigenous Australians. And as the population declines, so too will important knowledge and ancient languages. While there were once 500 indigenous nations and a similar amount of languages, there are now fewer that 200 indigenous languages in Australia and 20 are in danger of being lost completely.
The app has become an important storytelling and preservation tool and a way to educate people about the ancient culture of Australia’s first people. What better way to learn about the country than from its indigenous peoples?
Originally published March 2016. Updated March 2017.