“Don't keep history a mystery - Learn. Share. Grow.”

Sunday 27 May – Sunday 3 June

Reconciliation Australia have announced the theme for 2018: “Don't keep history a mystery - Learn. Share. Grow.”

NRW 2018 is a key activity in the Reconciliation Movement’s strategy to support Australians in making progress in the reconciliation dimension Historical Acceptance. This dimension addresses whether all Australians acknowledge the injustices and actions of the past and their impacts (both historical and contemporary) and are making amends for past wrongs.
This year, NRW invites Australians to Learn, Share, Grow – by exploring their past, learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and cultures and developing a deeper understanding of our national story.

What is National Reconciliation Week?

National Reconciliation Week is an annual celebration and is a time for all Australians to reflect on our shared histories, and on the contributions and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.  The week is framed by two key events in Australia’s history that provide strong symbols of the aspirations for reconciliation.

NRW runs from Saturday 27 May –  Saturday 3 June, bookended by two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey: the 1967 Referendum and the historic Mabo decision. 2017 marks 50 years since the ‘67 referendum, and 25 years since the Mabo decision. This year’s theme –  ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’ – reminds us that all big changes take persistence and courage. 

May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum and a defining event in our nation’s history. The 1967 Referendum saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and recognise them in the national census.  

June 3 is Mabo Day – On this day in 1992, the High Court of Australia delivered its landmark Mabo decision which overturned the notion of ‘terra nullius’ and legally recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ connection to their country, a connection that existed prior to colonisation and continues today. This recognition paved the way for the Native Title system. 

What can you do?

Plan events that celebrate and build on respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians and that show how non-Aboriginal Australians can be active supporters of reconciliation.  Some examples of events or activities you could plan for your community include:

  • Public forums on Reconciliation (e.g. at the Town Hall or local library).
  • Aboriginal heritage walks and cultural tours;
  • Film screenings, festivals, concerts, poetry or book readings;
  • Exhibitions, talks or performances by local Aboriginal artists, musicians, craftspeople or businesses;
  • Supporting the permanent display of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags or banners where they haven’t been before;
  • Reconciliation Breakfasts or festivals featuring indigenous cuisine;
  • Dreamtime story-telling and displays in local schools, libraries, council offices or public spaces.
Or you could support activities within local schools such as arranging guest speakers or workshops, or support an Aboriginal flag raising, an art competition or display.

NRW Resources

Reconciliation Week posters and resources are now available via Reconciliation Australia’s website: www.reconciliation.org.au

Event Promotion

We encourage you to promote your event via Reconciliation Australia's online Reconciliation Week Calendar - please enter your event details here

Please note that Reconcilation Victoria is developing a new website and it will not include an online NRW2018 Calendar. To find an event near you visit the RA online Reconciliation Week Calendar



NRW Resources for schools 

Reconciliation Australia has developed this Narragunnawali Teaching and learning ideas for teachers. The Kit includes lots of suggestions of activities you can run during the week.

Check out their NRW webpage for a full list of resources and ideas for activities you or your school can take part in.

Righting wrongs in the 1967 referendum - ABC Splash

Indigenous Language Song Competition 2017 - ABC Splash

The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria has also shared these resources in the lead up to National Reconciliation Week.

A National Reconciliation Week Prayer

A River Dreaming - by Elizabeth (Betty) Pike This text is a valuable resource for the Australian Curriculum at Foundational and Year 9 levels, and for religious education courses.

A River Dreaming Learning Activity A Learning Activity - English and History. Adopt a Totem Reconciliation Project / River Dreaming "…there are several ways to find your totem animal. You can have an animal given to you by an elder, you can discover it yourself or it will one day somehow find you and open the doors for you to learn other things about yourself.” Richard Frankland

National Reconciliation Week 2017   #NRW2017

What an amazing week! Over 145 events were held throughout Victoria (a record to our knowledge). National Reconciliation Week ran from Saturday 27 May – Saturday 3 June, bookended by two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey: the 1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision.

Schools, kindergartens and child-care centres, local reconciliation groups, faith-based groups, community organisations, sports clubs, local councils, government departments and business organisations were among those that participated by organising events throughout the week. The week included film screenings, forums, exhibitions, sports events, quiz nights, concerts, flag raisings, craft workshops, public lectures, a surfing competition, walking tours, multi-faith services and much much more.

One of the highlights was the inaugural WE | HERE | NOW week-long program at Federation Square, which included the raising of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to fly permanently for the first time, involving Gail Mabo and the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Natalie Hutchins, and a wonderful celebration of Torres Strait Island culture on Mabo Day at Birrarung Marr.

NRW2017 and the significant anniversaries that it celebrated was given unprecedented coverage by ABC TV and Radio, and many of those programs are still available as podcasts and on iView.  Check out Our Focus: Reconciliation Week and visit our website for photos and reports in the coming weeks.

Thank you to the thousands of you who organised or participated in an event or activity.

A big thanks also to Triple R for the generous support they provided by running a number of free Community Service Announcements promoting NRW.

During NRW2017 we encouraged all sectors of the community to discuss this year’s theme ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’ – creating awareness of the 1967 Referendum (and the 50th anniversary) and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision, in particular what these historic dates means and discussing together what ‘the next steps’ to reconciliation might look like.

We also encouraged local reconciliation groups, community organisations, local councils and schools to engage and collaborate with Aboriginal communities in their local area. We were able to support activities, events and projects that engaged with and had the support of the local Aboriginal community. 

Reconciliation Small Grants in Regional Victorian Communities

Reconciliation Victoria provided eleven small grants to education providers, local councils and community groups across Victoria to support their events with the aim of increasing awareness of and participation in NRW in regional areas across the state.

This approach supported engagement with over 75 community groups, organisations etc and well in excess of 5,000 community members. This also included radio and print media promotions.  

Total reach: Over 5,000 people attended all events and were exposed to local NRW messaging


> Awareness created across regional Victoria about NRW 2017 and Themes;
> Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal partnerships were supported, nurtured and showcase at a local and state level;
> Local champions of reconciliation supported.