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Opportunities for action

Each year there are dates that recognise important historic events, call Australians to action or celebrate the culture and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. How do you, your workplace, or school acknowledge these days?

Survival Day

26 January

This date marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia and is also known as Australia Day. However, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this is a day to acknowledge their survival rather than celebrate British colonialisation.

Events are held all around Australia showcasing different aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures including dance, literature, music, food, language and history.

National Apology Day

13 February

To mark the anniversary of the formal apology by the Parliament of Australia to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly the Stolen Generations, for past injustices.

National Close the Gap Day

16 March

This is the annual event held to raise awareness about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health crisis in Australia, and promote equality in life expectancy and health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

Harmony Day

21 March

This is day of cultural respect for everyone that calls Australia home. The purpose is to promote belonging and cultural diversity, and to reaffirm Australia as an inclusive nation.

National Sorry Day

26 May

On Sorry Day thousands of Australians from all walks of life participate in memorial services, commemorative meetings, survival celebrations and community gatherings to honour and commemorate the Stolen Generations.

National Reconciliation Week

27 May – 3 June

National Reconciliation Week celebrates and builds on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and other Australians. National Reconciliation Week also commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the anniversaries of the successful 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo Decision. It is a time to celebrate and learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and explore how each of us can contribute to the national reconciliation effort.

Mabo Day

3 June

This marks the anniversary of the High Court’s historic decision, led by Eddie Koiki Mabo, which overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius and recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original custodians of this land.

Coming of the Light

1 July

The Coming of the Light Festival is celebrated in the Torres Strait Islands each year and commemorates the date that the London Missionary Society first arrived on Erub Island in 1871. Torres Strait Islanders People mark this day by through cultural and religious celebrations.

National NAIDOC Week

7 – 14 July

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Held from the first Sunday to the second Sunday in July, this week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day

4 August

This is a day to reflect on the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: their right to be educated, cared for, protected, and to have the opportunity to understand and practise their culture.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People

9 August

This day affirms the importance of protecting and promoting the rights of Indigenous peoples all around the world. It also celebrates their unique contributions and diverse, rich cultures.