Cultural days of significance

February

18 Anniversary of the Charles Perkins’ Freedom Rides (1965)

In 1965 students from the University of Sydney took action to draw attention to the racism that was rife in New South Wales country towns. Find out more about the Charles Perkins' Freedom Rides

March

16 National Close the Gap Day

Closing the Gap is a strategy that aims to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes. For more information visit the Australian Human Rights Commission or read about the history of Closing the Gap.

18 Anniversary of Eric Deeral's maiden speech (1975)

Mr Eric Deeral was the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member of the Queensland Parliament. Mr Deeral was elected to the parliament for the seat of Cook in 1974. Read Eric Deeral's parliamentary biography (PDF).

May

26 National Sorry Day

2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the tabling of the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Report ‘Bringing Them Home’. The report, tabled in Federal Parliament on 26 May 1997, detailed painful evidence of the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The launch of the report was an event that shook Australia.

The five-petal Native Cotton, Desert Rose, or Native Hibiscus, was chosen by community members to symbolise the scattering of the Stolen Generations. This flower was adopted because it is found widely across Australia and it is a survivor in itself.

Stolen Generation commemorative flowers can be ordered from the Kimberley Stolen Generation Aboriginal Corporation.

27 Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum

2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, when more than 90% of Australians voted to remove clauses from the Australian Constitution that discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The referendum also gave the Commonwealth Government the power to make laws on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For more information visit the National Archives of Australia.

27 May – 3 June Reconciliation Week

The theme for Reconciliation Week 2017 is Let's Take the Next Steps. Find more information visit the Reconciliation Australia website.

June

3 Mabo Day

This year will mark the 25th year since the High Court of Australia overturned the principle of ‘terra nullius’ or ‘vacant land’ as claimed by the British when they first arrived in this country. This decision has paved the way for land rights now known as Native Title. Find out more about Eddie Mabo.

July

1 Coming of the Light

The Coming of the Light festival marks the day the London Missionary Society first arrived in Torres Strait. The missionaries landed at Erub Island on 1 July 1871, introducing Christianity to the region. This is a significant day for Torres Strait Islanders, who are predominantly of Christian faith, and religious and cultural ceremonies across Torres Strait and mainland Australia are held on 1 July each year. 

2 - 9 July NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC provides all Australians with the opportunity to reflect on the past and look to a future that better understands and celebrates the unique connection that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to country. The theme for 2017 is ‘Our Languages Matter’. For information about Queensland events visit our NAIDOC calendar. For more information about national events visit the NAIDOC website.

12 Anniversary of the Aboriginal Flag being first flown (1971)

The Aboriginal flag, designed by Harold Thomas, was first flown in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day in 1971. For more information about the flag's history visit the NAIDOC website.

14 Anniversary of the Torres Strait Island flag being proclaimed as a ‘Flag of Australia’

 The Torres Strait Islander flag, designed by the late Bernard Namok of Thursday Island, symbolises the unity and identity of all Torres Strait Islanders. Find out more about the history of the Torres Strait flag.

August

4 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day

Children's Day, and the week leading up to it, is a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children. The day is also an opportunity for all Australians to show their support for Indigenous children, as well as learn about the crucial impact that community, culture and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child. The theme for 2017 is Value Our Rights, Respect Our Culture, Bring Us Home.

For more information visit the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day website.

9 International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is a chance to celebrate the achievements, diversity and culture of Indigenous peoples around the world. Held each year on 9 August the United Nations’ International Day of the World’s Indigenous people promotes the protection of the rights of the world’s Indigenous population, and recognises the cultures, history and languages of the world’s Indigenous peoples. Find out more on the United Nations website.

14 Anniversary of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions (1963)

These petitions from the Yolngu people of Yirrkala, the first traditional documents recognised by the Commonwealth Parliament, were tabled in Parliament on 14 August 1963. Find out more about the history of the Yirrkala Bark Petitions

September

6 Indigenous Literacy Day

Coordinated by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation, this day aims to help raise funds to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. The foundation, together with community support, helps raise funds to buy books and literacy resources for children in these communities. For more information visit the Indigenous Literacy Foundation website.

8 Anniversary of Neville Bonner’s Maiden Speech (1971)

Mr Neville Bonner was the first Indigenous Australian to sit in federal Parliament. For more information about Neville Bonner visit the Biographical Dictionary of the Australian Senate.

13 Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, 13 September 2007. For more information visit the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

December

10 Human Rights Day

For more information visit United Nations Human Rights Day.

 

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