National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.
The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.
May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census.
On 3 June, 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a special relationship to the land—that existed prior to colonalisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for land rights called Native Title. 2012 marked the 20th anniversary of the Mabo decision.
Anyone can get involved in NRW. The theme for the week is set by Reconciliation Australia. Events are held right around the country—in schools, offices, parks and community centres. Holding your own event is easy. Check out our action list for ideas of things to do or visit the ‘what’s on’ section.
You can now find out who the 2013 National Reconciliation Week ambassadors are.
The theme for this year is Let’s Talk Recognition—with a focus on how Australians can better recognise each other, and recognise the contributions, cultures and histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. But how you interpret the theme is entirely up to you. It could be as simple as:
We all know the importance of recognition and how good it makes us feel. National Reconciliation Week is the perfect opportunity to recognise all Australians, and the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within this country.
So get involved by hosting or attending an event and do your part for reconciliation; it’s everyone’s business. Add your event now!