Significant dates

13 February - National Apology*

This day is the anniversary of the formal apology by the Australian Parliament to Australian Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people, specifically the Stolen Generation, that took place on 13 February 2008. The anniversary of the National Apology is a reminder of how our nation can come together in efforts to overcome injustices of the past and look to the future.

17 March 2016 - National Close the Gap Day

National Close the Gap Day gives people the opportunity to show their support for closing the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians. It aims to raise awareness of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health crisis.

26 May - National Sorry Day*

National Sorry Day​ is commemorated each year to acknowledge the Stolen Generations. This day gives people the chance to come together and share the steps towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities. Stolen Generations refer to Indigenous Australians who were forcibly removed from their families and communities.

27 May – 1967 Referendum*

In 1967 over 90% of Australians voted in a Referendum to remove clauses from the Australian Constitution which discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The Referendum also gave the Commonwealth Government the power to make laws on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

27 May - 3 June - National Reconciliation Week*

Each year National Reconciliation Week celebrates the rich culture and history of the first Australians. It's the ideal time for people to join the reconciliation conversation and to think about how to turn around the disadvantage experienced by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

3 June - Mabo Day*

Mabo Day celebrates the High Court's historic judgement delivered on 3 June 1992, accepting the claim from Eddie Mabo and the other claimants that their people had occupied the island of Mer before the arrival of the British.

1 July - The Coming of the Light Festival*

The Coming of the Light Festival marks the day the London Missionary Society first arrived in Torres Strait. The missionaries landed at Erub Island on 1 July 1871, introducing Christianity to the region. This is a significant day for Torres Strait Islanders, who are predominantly of Christian faith, and religious and cultural ceremonies are held annually across Torres Strait and mainland Australia.

3 - 10 July 2016 - NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Indigenous Australians. All Australians are encouraged to participate in NAIDOC Week activities.

4 August - National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day*

National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day (NAICD) was established by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care in 1988. Each year, Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) has a theme for Children's Day to highlight a significant issue, concern or hope for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

9 August - International Day of the World's Indigenous People*

International Day of the World's Indigenous People aims to make the voices of Indigenous peoples heard more clearly around the world and to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples and improve their situations with respect to their lands, their languages, their livelihoods, and their cultures. This day is also to strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by Indigenous people in such areas as culture, education, health, human rights, the environment and social and economic development.

7 September 2016 - Indigenous Literacy Day

Indigenous Literacy Day​ is held to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions.
* denotes events that occur on the same date each year
Last reviewed
26 November 2016
Last updated
26 November 2016