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.

National Reconciliation Week

This is the logo for NRW in 2020 is based on artwork created by Biripi/Bunjalung woman Nikita Ridgeway entitled, “Reconciliation, a continuing journey of growth and togetherness.” The artwork’s design elements represent Australians together on a national journey of reconciliation while paying homage to the past and recognising the present.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. Read the Association's Statement on National Reconciliation Week.

The logo for NRW in 2020 is based on artwork created by Biripi/Bunjalung woman Nikita Ridgeway entitled, “Reconciliation, a continuing journey of growth and togetherness.” The artwork’s design elements represent Australians together on a national journey of reconciliation while paying homage to the past and recognising the present.

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.

In this together is the theme for NRW 2020. 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.

This unity of purpose creates a shared sense of belonging and identity; and this identity must value and include the histories, cultures, and rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

How to get involved - 'Acknowledgement of Country'

Everyone can be involved in National Reconciliation Week by undertaking their own ‘Acknowledgement of Country’. Detail about how to do this is available online from Reconciliation Australia.

Below is an example of wording that could be used. The Association encourages members and their families and colleagues to undertake their own ‘Acknowledgement of Country’.

“I would like to acknowledge the [insert name of First Nation Peoples here] People of the [insert appropriate name] Nation, the traditional custodians of the land which I am currently on and pay my respects to the Elders both past and present. I extend that respect to all Indigenous and non-indigenous Peoples across Australia. I acknowledge the history of Australia and events still occurring as we move towards reconciliation in respectful partnerships #SPANRW2020 "

Explore the AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia to discover the Traditional Owners of the land.

This is the poster for the Reconciliation Film Club documentary 'Connection to Country'.Connection to Country documentary

Speech Pathology Australia was very excited as part of the Reconciliation Film Club to host the short film, ‘Connection to Country’. This was an opportunity to bring our members together to develop a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, histories, and cultures, to ignite conversation and spark change.

NRW events

There are a number of events on during NRW. View events planned for NRW.

Other events will also be listed here as information about them is received.

Wednesday 27 May: from 12 pm (noon) AEST
National Acknowledgement of Country
Acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land you are on via social media, images, video, text, or silent reflection.
Find the Traditional Owners of the land you are via the AIATSIS Map of Indigenous Australia.

Thursday 28 May 12 pm (noon) AEST
Panel Discussion: Reconciliation Bridge Walks of 2000
Panel members reflect on the bridge walks of 2000 and the role of reconciliation. Hosted by Larissa Behrendt with Hon Ken Wyatt AM MP, Hon Linda Burney MP, Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine, and University of Wollongong Lecturer, Summer May Finlay.
Facebook Livestream on Reconciliation Australia and ABC Australia Facebook pages. The panel will be broadcast on Speaking Out, which can be heard on Radio National (Fridays at 8pm), ABC local Radio (Sundays at 9pm) and the ABC listen app.

Friday 29 May 9 – 10 pm AEST
In concert together: Deadly Musos Live in Concert
Busby Marou, Alice Skye and Jimblah take part in an hour of music tunes and chat hosted by Christine Anu on her National Evenings show on ABC Radio and on Facebook Live – ABC and Reconciliation Australia Facebook pages.
Tune into ABC Radio or the ABC listen app or watch on the Facebook Livestream on Reconciliation Australia, ABC Sydney or ABC Australia Facebook pages.

Detail about NRW events in individual states and territories is available online: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and Western Australia.

Bridge Walk for Reconciliation

Twenty years ago, in a monumental display of support for reconciliation, around 250,000 Australians walked across the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The People’s Walk for Reconciliation, (as the bridge walk was titled) had a profound impact on those who participated, and a roll-on effect around the country. Watch a video and recall the emotion and significance of this event.

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.

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.