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Margaret River community heads to coast to mark January 26 | Photos

January 26 on Wadandi country

The community of Augusta Margaret River headed to the mouth of the Wooditjup Bilya (Margaret River) on Wednesday to mark the day with a relaxed gathering on country.

Facilitated by custodians of the Wadandi people of the South West, the event represented a shift in sentiment for a growing number of locals who see January 26 as a cause for reflection, rather than celebration.

Pibulmun Wadandi cultural custodian Zac Webb led an informal ceremony that saw participants bathe themselves in smoke, before heading to the ocean to complete the cleansing ritual by casting sand into the sea.

As Mr Webb explained the significance of the tradition and the connection of all people to the land, people then headed along the short stretch of sand to sip from the river, before an emphatic spray of water to communicate peace and goodwill to the river and its spirit.

Later, Mr Webb sang as an ever-growing line of dancers circled over the rocks, creating a serpent-like shape in the sand as more people joined the 'tail'.

"It's so great to see such a good turnout again, after last year," said Toni Webb at the conclusion of the ceremonies.

"We didn't advertise anything official and this really is just something we like to do each year, to come and sit on country and talk and share," she said.

"The fact that so many people want to come and join us and show their support is really special, it's awesome."