Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Events 2013.

21 January 2013

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Events 2013 

Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are warned that this website may contain images of deceased people.




National Apology Day – 13 February

This year marks the fifth anniversary of the formal apology made on 13 February 2008 by the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and the Parliament of Australia to the Stolen Generations. It is a reminder of how our nation can come together to overcome injustices of the past and look towards a better future.
For more information visit:The Australian Government website



Harmony Day – 21 March

Harmony Day celebrates the cohesive and inclusive nature of Australia and promotes a tolerant and culturally diverse society.



National Closing the Gap Day – 24 March

Closing the Gap is a strategy that is aimed at reducing the disadvantages suffered by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. The purpose of the program is to improve the living standards in terms of health, education, housing, early childhood and employment.
Reference:Social Justice Report 2005


ANZAC Day – 25 April

This day is also in recognition of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander servicemen and women that participated in WWI and onwards. It is stated that about 500 Aboriginal people served in WWI and about 5,000 in WWII.


National Sorry Day - 26 May

Sorry Day was established following the publication of the ‘Bringing Them Home’ report. This report was tabled in Federation Parliament on 26 May 1997. One of the 54 recommendations to come out of the report was a call for the establishment of a community-based National Sorry Day Committee.
On this day and every calendar year, Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities across Australia conduct a range of events to acknowledge Sorry Day and the Stolen Generations.
Bringing Them Home Report
National Sorry Day Committee

National Reconciliation Week - 27 May - 3 June

National Reconciliation Week celebrates the rich culture and history of the first Australians, as well as recognising two significant dates of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ~ the 1967 Referendum and Mabo Day.
The week provides opportunity for all Australians to take part in “reconciliation dialogue” and to think about possible ways in which to bring about positive change to the lives of disadvantaged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


1967 Referendum - 27 May

In 1967, a National Referendum saw more than 90 per cent of eligible Australians vote ‘yes’ to two changes in the Australian Constitution. The changes were to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the national census of the population and to give the Australian Government the power to make uniform, specific laws in respect of Indigenous people (rather than individual states making their own laws). Legislation reflecting the referendum was enacted on 10 August 1967.



Mabo Day - 3 June

On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia handed down its historic decision in Mabo v the State of Queensland (No. 2), a native title claim by Eddie Mabo and Others on behalf of the Meriam People of Murray Island, Queensland. The High Court’s decision rejected the notion that Australia was ‘terra nullius’, meaning ‘empty land’ or ‘land belonging to nobody’, at the time of European arrival and colonisation.

The term ‘Native Title’ was used to describe and recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may have existing rights and interests in the land and waters, according to traditional laws and customs that have survived beyond European arrival.

These rights were recognised by the common law doctrine of aboriginal title, overruling the Supreme Court of the Northern Territory case of
Milirrpum v Nabalco Pty Ltd (1971.)

In the Torres Strait region, Mabo Day is recognised as a public holiday. For more information about events and information relating to Reconciliation Week and Mabo see:
Reconciliation Australia
Reconciliation in Victoria


NAIDOC Week - 1 July to 8 July

NAIDOC celebrations are held around Australia in July to observe the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. NAIDOC originally stood for the ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’, a committee that was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week. The committee’s acronym has evolved into the name of the week itself. For further information see:http://www.naidoc.org.au

National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day - 4 August

This day was established by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) in 1988. It raises awareness of the significance of providing a safe, nurturing, and healthy environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Each year, SNAICC has a theme that is aimed at enhancing family relationships, which can lead to positive consequences for the wellbeing, self-esteem, sense of belonging and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. To facilitate these outcomes the importance of culture for young children is emphasised.

For further information visit the SNAICC website:http://www.snaicc.org.au

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People - 9 August

On 9 August 1982, the first meeting of the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Populations was held in Geneva. In 1994, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People on this date every year.
International Day of the World's Indigenous People
Indigenous peoples of the world

Human Rights Day - 10 December

Human Rights Day celebrates the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Since its adoption in 1948, this declaration has been translated into 360 languages, showing its universal relevance and forethought for securing human rights around the world.
Human Rights Day