Annual events

Survival Day, 26 January

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples celebrate the survival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage.

National Apology Anniversary, 13 February

This event commemorates the anniversary of the formal apology made by the Australian Government in Federal Parliament on 13 February 2008 to all Aboriginal people and the Stolen Generations – the children forcibly taken away from their families to be raised in institutions or by white families.

Harmony Day, 21 March

Harmony Day began in 1999 and it celebrates cultural diversity, coinciding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The activities of Harmony Day give individuals, communities, organisations and businesses the chance to embrace diversity and stand against racism in Australia.

National Close the Gap Day, 16 March

It started in 2006 as Australia's largest campaign to close the gap on health, life expectancy and education between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation.

National Sorry Day, 26 May

National Sorry Day was first held on 26 May 1998, one year after the tabling of the Bringing them Home report, the result of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families.

1967 Referendum, 27 May

In 1967, Australians voted to include Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in the national census, allowing the Commonwealth to remove discriminatory laws under the Australian Constitution and legislate for Indigenous Australians welfare.

Reconciliation Australia, 27 May - 3 June

It's celebrated between 27 May and 3 June as the dates mark the anniversaries of the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. The week is a time we can all celebrate our shared histories and cultures, think about reconciliation and how we can help turn around the disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians.

Mabo Day, 3 June

Eddie Mabo, a Torres Strait Islander man living in Queensland, and four other plaintiffs - Father Dave Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice and Celuia Sale - conducted a ten-year battle through the courts that led to this historic ruling. On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia recognised this land was occupied before European colonisation. The Mabo Judgement overturned the legal definition that Australia was ‘Terra Nullius' (nobody's land) and the decision gave Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders ownership of land.

NAIDOC week, 1st full week of July

NAIDOC week is about celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and peoples across Australia. It occurs from the first to the second Sunday in July with a different theme each year and everyone in the country is encouraged to participate in the proposed activities.

The Coming of the Light, 1 July

The day the London Missionary Society first arrived in the Torres Strait, landing at Erub Island in 1871 and introducing Christianity to the region. This is a particular day of spiritual significance for Torres Strait Islanders, who are predominantly of Christian faith.

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children's Day, 4 August

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) established this date in 1988. It has a different theme each year, giving the community an opportunity to talk about the real actions we can take to make a difference in the lives of Indigenous children as well as celebrate their strengths and culture.

International Day of the World's Indigenous People, 9 August

The United Nations General Assembly decided the International Day of the World's Indigenous People to be celebrated on 9 August every year during the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995 – 2004). In 2004, the Assembly proclaimed a Second International Decade, aiming to strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by Indigenous people in such areas as human rights, the environment, development, education and health, also including economic and social development.

Indigenous Literacy Day, 6 September

Indigenous Literacy Day helps raise funds to improve literacy levels as well as the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians in remote regions. Events and fundraisers are held across Australia with the aim to motivate everyone to support Indigenous literacy and celebrate Indigenous culture.

Page last updated: 13 January 2017