Birthing on country: An elusive ideal?


The concept of birthing on country for Aboriginal people means having babies born on traditional lands, and more recently the term is used to indicate the desire of Aboriginal communities to have our babies born in our communities.

Being born on country connects an Aboriginal person to the land and community in a deeply cultural way and affords life-long privileges such as hunting and fishing rights, as well as lifelong responsibilities for looking after country, both land and people. For Aboriginal women, birthing has moved from the personal to the political as governments provide policies about what is 'best' for Aboriginal women and their babies.


Catrina Felton-Busch
Indigenous Health Unit, Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Science, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD


Commonwealth of Australia (2009) Improving Maternity Services in Australia: The Report of the Maternity Services Review. Australian Government, Canberra.

Mt Isa Health District, Queensland Health (1999) Birthing on the Homelands Project Report 2nd draft, Queensland Government. Brisbane.

Queensland Health (2005) Re-Birthing: Report of the Review of Maternity Service in Queensland. Queensland Government, Brisbane.


nursing, Aboriginal, maternity services, Health Policy, birthing on country, remote


PP: 161 - 162

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