National Reconciliation Week 2023

National Reconciliation Week – 27 May to 3 June – a time for all Australians to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation.

In 2023, activities during the week were made that much more significant as the nation prepared for the Voice to Parliament referendum.

The theme Be a Voice for Generations called on Australians to honour our long history of allyship and solidarity to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation for the generations to come.

Giving voice to the theme was the overwhelming response to the Voices For Generations project, which saw more than 500 choirs and school groups from across the country come together to sing From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody; an iconic Australian song that pays tribute to the Gurindji people and is symbolic of the movement for First Nations equality and land rights in Australia.

The choirs reflected the diversity of Australian society: schools, trade unions, disability groups, AUSLAN, LGBQTI+, faith-based and culturally and linguistically diverse groups participated.

Reconciliation around the country

Panellists Craig Foster, Semara Jose and Aunty Geraldine Atkinson along with moderator Narelda Jacobs at the National NRW Breakfast held at Parliament House.

The national parliamentary breakfast united reconciliation supporters from around the country at a critical and historic time in our reconciliation journey. It featured a panel discussion with L-R: Craig Foster, Semara Jose, and Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, moderated by Narelda Jacobs. Photo: Andrew Taylor.

Reconciliation NSW’s community information session on the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the referendum.

Reconciliation NSW’s community information session on the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the referendum (pictured). They also hosted an in-person and online breakfast, and launched the Schools Reconciliation Challenge Exhibition: Under One Sky. Photo: supplied.

Djinama Yilaga Intergenerational Yuin Choir performing at the Coota Girls Sorry Day event.

Cootamundra Girls Aboriginal Corporation’s Sorry Day event was the largest gathering of Coota Girls survivors held in over 10 years. Djinama Yilaga Choir (pictured) were among the performers. Photo: Reconciliation Australia.

Acclaimed journalist Ray Martin and Palawa Man Ged Watts speaking at Reconciliation Tasmania's annual breakfast event.

Over 1,500 supporters came together in Tasmania to hear from local speakers and acclaimed journalist Ray Martin at Reconciliation Tasmania’s Devonport, Launceston and Hobart breakfasts. Pictured are Ray (L) and Palawa man Ged Watts. Photo: Chris Crerar.

Attendees at Reconciliation WA's annual Walk for Reconciliation event.

Reconciliation WA hosted their virtual breakfast live from the Boola Bardip WA Museum, and held the annual Walk for Reconciliation at Kaarta Koomba (attendees pictured). Photo: Todd Russell, The Digital Factory.

Families taking part in at activities at the combined Reconciliation Australia and Reconciliation Victoria stall at the Long Walk 2023 in Melbourne.

Reconciliation Australia and Reconciliation Victoria were at the Long Walk in Melbourne, with colouring-in activities and yarning circles covering self-determination, truth-telling, and the NRW theme. Photo: Reconciliation Australia.

Attendee's at Reconciliation SA’s National Reconciliation Week Breakfast.

In 2023, Reconciliation SA’s National Reconciliation Week Breakfast commemorated National Sorry Day. Photo: Samuel Graves.

Crowd at ACT Reconciliation Day at the National Arboretum.

Thousands enjoyed the winter sunshine at Reconciliation Day at the National Arboretum hosted by the ACT Reconciliation Council. Photo: Reconciliation Australia.

This article is from the 50th edition of Reconciliation News magazine. Read the rest of the issue. 

Looking for National Reconciliation Week activities in your state or territory? Find out more about the Australian Reconciliation Network.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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