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National Reconciliation Week 2019

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National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. 

The week's events also help celebrate progress in implementing our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Plan, see below for our public event program. 

In 2019 National Reconciliation Week’s theme is “Grounded in Truth, Walk Together with Courage” as to foster positive race relations, our relationship must be grounded in a foundation of truth. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth-telling about Australia’s colonial history. Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds. 

Today, 80 per cent of Australians believe it is important to undertake formal truth telling processes, according to the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer. Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other. Whether you’re engaging in challenging conversations or unlearning and relearning what you know, this journey requires all of us to walk together with courage. This National Reconciliation Week, we invite Australians from all backgrounds to contribute to our national movement towards a unified future. 

Milestones in the reconciliation journey

Sorry Day (26 May)

Recognises the 1997 Bringing Them Home report - findings of a national enquiry into the forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The report recommended holding a National Sorry Day each year to remember and recognise Stolen Generations and move towards healing.

Referendum (27 May)

Commemorates the day in 1967 when the National Referendum recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the census was passed by over 90% of the vote. 2019 marks the 52nd anniversary of this important event.

Mabo Day (3 June)

The anniversary of the 1992 High Court Decision recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights and that Australia was not Terra Nullius the time of European arrival. 2018 marks the 26th anniversary of this important event.

Activities and events

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Educational Resources