Important dates

The following are important dates in our history and are often marked by commemorative events.


1 1993 1993- Native Title Act proclaimed
26 1788 Invasion Day (Australia Day)
26 1972 Tent Embassy established in front of Parliament House, Canberra


5 1972 Tent Embassy Petition to Parliament
8 1972 Woodward Land Rights Inquiry established
12 1965 The Freedom Ride bus leaves Sydney for country NSW
13 2008 National Apology Day: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations in 2008


17 National Close the Gap Dayfirst organised in 2006 this is the day when  organisations come together to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Close the Gap day is an opportunity for organisations and community to hold events and raise awareness of the Aboriginal health crisis.
21 Harmony Day
23 2005 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) abolished


1 1897 Resistance leader Jandamarra killed in WA
5 1997 Bringing Them Home” Stolen Generations Report
15 1991 Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Royal Commission Final Report submitted


1 1946 Pilbara Aboriginal Stockmen’s strike, WA
3 1990 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) established
8 1997 Wik ‘10-Point-Plan’ announced
26 1998 National Sorry Day – this day marks the anniversary of when the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in parliament, and commemorates the Stolen Generations
27 1967 The anniversary of the 1967 Referendum recognises the 97% ‘yes’ vote in the Referendum of 1967. It changed the constitution to allow Aboriginal people to be counted in the census and to enable the Commonwealth government to make laws for Aboriginal people. 27 May marks the start of National Reconciliation Week.
27 1997 National Reconciliation Convention
28 2000 250,000 people walk for reconciliation in Sydney
29 1992 Torres Strait Islander flag launched
30 1980 Tiwi receive title to Tiwi Islands


3 1992 Mabo Day celebrates the 1992 High Court decision that ruled in favour of Eddie Koiki Mabo and other claimants that their people had occupied the island of Mer in the Torres Strait prior to the arrival of the British. This historic decision effectively recognised the existence of Native Title rights and rejected the concept of ‘Terra Nullius’, which claimed Australia was a land belonging to no-one prior to British occupation.
3 June marks the end of National Reconciliation Week.
4 2000 50,000 people walk for reconciliation in Brisbane
10 1838 Myall Creek Massacre, NSW, and Myall Creek Massacre Memorial Ceremony
11 1988 Barunga Statement presented to Prime Minister Hawke


1 1871 Missionaries of the London Missionary Society arrive in the Torres Strait at Erub Island, introducing Christianity to the region. The Coming of the Light festival marks this important day for Torres Strait Islanders, who are mainly of Christian faith. They celebrate the day with cultural and religious activities.
2 1971 Evonne Goolangong Cawley wins Wimbledon
~5 NAIDOC Week is in the first week of July and celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal people. NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islander Observance Committee’, which was responsible for organising national activities for NAIDOC Week. The acronym has now become the name for the week itself.
8 1998 Discriminatory Native Title amendments passed
12 1971 Aboriginal Flag first flown
23 2000 25,000 walk for reconciliation in Hobart


4 1988 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day
9 International Day of Indigenous Peoples. First declared by the United Nations in 1994, the day aims to strengthen international awareness and cooperation for solutions to the problems faced by aboriginal people in areas such as human rights, development, the environment, education and health.
14 1963 Bark Petition from Yirrkala to Parliament
16 1975 Return of land to Gurindji, NT
16-30 1928 Conniston Massacre, NT
18 1978 Tiwi Land Council established
24 1966 Gurindji walk-off, Wave Hill Station, NT


1 1998 Sea of Hands, Uluru
2 1991 Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation established
25 2000 Cathy Freeman won an olympic gold medal
28 1983 John Pat dies in police custody. Each year, Aboriginal people remember his and other cases on John Pat Day with memorial services or protest marches.


NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout on the first weekend in October (varying venues).
12 1997 First Sea of Hands, Canberra
26 1985 Uluru returned to traditional owners
28 1834 Battle of Pinjarra, WA
30 1975 Racial Discrimination Act takes effect


26 1986 Pope John Paul II addresses Aboriginal people in Alice Springs


2 2000 350,000 walk for reconciliation in Melbourne and Perth
4 2000 Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Final Report
16 1976 Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act passed
23 1996 High Court Wik Native Title decision