Important dates in the Reconciliation calendar

There are a number of dates significant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that are celebrated with all Australians . Some key dates the nation embraces every year, including NAIDOC Week, National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week.

View the Speech Pathology Australia Reconciliation Action Plan.

NAIDOC Week

This is the official logo for NAIDOC Week in 2021.NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In 2021, NAIDOC Week will be conducted in the week, 4-11 July.

The NAIDOC 2021 theme - Heal Country.

The theme is a call to action for everyone to seek greater protections for Indigenous lands, waters, sacred sites and cultural heritage from exploitation, desecration, and destruction.

NAIDOC 2021 invites the nation to embrace First Nations’ cultural knowledge and understanding of Country as part of Australia's national heritage and equally respect the culture and values of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders as they do the cultures and values of all Australians.

For generations Indigenous Australians have been calling for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of their culture and heritage. They are still waiting for those robust protections.

This year’s theme also seeks substantive institutional, structural, and collaborative reform – something generations of Elders and communities have been advocating, marching and fighting for.

Healing Country means finally resolving many of the outstanding injustices that impact on the lives of First Nations people.

Is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the rich history, diverse cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.

How to get involved in NAIDOC

Information about events during NAIDOC Week is available online.

Before NAIDCO Week commences, download the NAIDOC poster and put it up somewhere prominent, and help promote the week and the week’s theme.

National Reconciliation Week

This graphic shows the official poster for National Reconciliation Week in 2021.National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is an opportunity for indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievement, and to explore how all Australians can contribute to achieving reconciliation in this country. Speech Pathology Australia supports NRW.

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 2021 National Reconciliation Week theme, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action. The Association encourages its members and staff to reflect on the part they play – big or small – on the journey towards reconciliation and how all of us, as a collective, can create a positive impact towards a positive future for all.

20 Actions for Reconciliation In 2021

The goal of the reconciliation movement is for a just, equitable and reconciled country. This will only be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Peoples of this land, are able to equally contribute to daily life of the nation. Until this happens, Australia will not reach its full potential.

We need more people speaking up, asking the hard questions and taking action during and beyond National Reconciliation Week. To help, Reconciliation Australia has compiled 20 actions for reconciliation.

This National Reconciliation Week, make reconciliation more than a word. Move from safe to brave on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

National Reconciliation Week 2021 events

National Reconciliation Week is all about events.

Visit the Reconciliation Australia website and search to find public events. NB. detail relating to these events may change at any time due to government COVID-19 restrictions.

Useful resources

Start your journey to reconciliation here…

Talks and presentations

There are many incredible talks, but here are a few that speak strongly to reconciliation:

Recommended films

  • Rabbit Proof Fence (drama)
  • Storm Boy (drama 1976 or 2019)
  • Bran Nue Dae (entertainment)
  • Beneath Clouds (drama)
  • The Sapphires (comedy)
  • Toomelah (drama)
  • Freedom Ride (documentary)
  • Black Chicks Talking (documentary)
  • Stolen Generations (documentary)
  • Vote Yes for Aborigines (documentary)
  • Beyond the Dreamtime (documentary).

National Sorry Day

National Sorry Day is held on 26 May each year.

On 26 May 1997 the landmark Bringing them Home report was tabled in the Australian parliament. Bringing them Home is the final report of the ‘National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families’ and was conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (now called the Australian Human Rights Commission) between 1995 and 1997.

The first National Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998 to commemorate the anniversary of the report and remember the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the stolen generations.

While the Bringing them Home report was published over twenty years ago, it remains a significant document. Many of the report's recommendations are yet to be implemented, members of the Stolen Generations and their families continue to be affected by the trauma caused by forced removal and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are still removed from their families at a very high rate.

On the 26 May 2017 the First Nations National Constitutional Convention released the Uluru Statement from the Heart calling for “constitutional change and structural reform” to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and ensure they are rights-holders within their country.

The Healing Foundation is a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. The organisation is passionate about strong spirits, strong culture and strong people. Members can explore their website and informative resources across their page to build on your knowledge as all of us strive to heal together.

National Close the Gap Day

National Close the Gap Day is conducted on the third Thursday in March each year. In 2021, National Close the Gap Day is on 18 March.

Closing the Gap acknowledges the ongoing strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sustaining the world’s oldest living cultures.

Closing the Gap is underpinned by the belief that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a genuine say in the design and delivery of policies, programs and services that affect them, better life outcomes are achieved. It also recognises that structural change in the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is needed to close the gap.

The Partnership

In March 2019, a formal Partnership Agreement on Closing the Gap (the Partnership) was established between the Commonwealth Government, state and territory governments, the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (the Coalition of Peaks) and the Australian Local Government Association. For the first time, Australian governments shared decision making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak representatives to develop a new National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement).

Learn more about Closing the Gap in Partnership

How to get involved in National Close the Gap Day

  • Register an activity. (There are downloadable online resources to support your event.)
  • Invite friends, workmates and family to join you
  • Take action by signing the Close the Gap pledge and asking your friends and colleagues to do the same
  • Call, tweet or write to your local Member of Parliament and tell them that you want them to Close the Gap
  • Listen to and share the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on Facebook - visit the Close the Gap Facebook page.
  • Share your photos and stories on social media. Use the hashtag #ClosetheGap.

Anniversary of the Apology

Did you know…

‘Sorry Day’ and the Anniversary of the National Apology (13 February) are two separate days.

Sorry Day’ is held annually on the 26 May. The Anniversary of the National Apology is a day that commemorates the event when Kevin Rudd – the then Prime Minister of Australia – made a formal apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples and whose lives had been blighted by past government policies of forced child removal and assimilation.

The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families was conducted by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) and their final report, titled The Bringing Them Home report, was tabled in parliament in 1997. The report handed down 54 recommendations in response to these findings, many of which have not been implemented by any government since.

'Sorry Day' has been held every year since 1998. The first Sorry Day took place one year after the tabling of The Bringing Them Home Report in Parliament. Having a day of commemoration was actually one of the recommendations within the report.

To learn more, read the full article on the SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) website: 10 things you should know about the National Apology.

Source: Racism. No Way, viewed 10 February 2020

View the Speech Pathology Australia Reconciliation Action Plan.