National Reconciliation Week 2016

Theme: “Our History, Our Story, Our Future”
Friday 27 May – Friday 3 June 2016

2016 is a year of commemoration and celebration for reconciliation in Australia – it is a year to build a platform for understanding our nation’s history, story, and future.

The year marks a quarter of a century since the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 15 years since the establishment of Reconciliation Australia, and 10 very successful years of Reconciliation Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program.

2016 is also a year to celebrate the future, with the launch of the inaugural State of Reconciliation in Australia report by Reconciliation Australia. The Report provides momentum to re-energise and re-mobilise the reconciliation movement into the next generation..

Throughout 2016 we ask all Australians to reflect on our national identity, and our relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures, and to seek to understand and engage with reconciliation.


What is 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.

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?

Some examples of events or activities you could plan for your community include:

  • Exhibitions or performances by local Aboriginal artists, craftspeople or businesses;
  • Aboriginal heritage walks and cultural tours;
  • Community BBQs, Reconciliation Breakfasts or festivals featuring indigenous cuisine;
  • Film screenings, poetry or book readings, festivals and concerts;
  • Flying Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags and banners;
  • Dreamtime story-telling and displays in local schools, libraries, council offices or public spaces;
  • Public forums on Reconciliation or Constitutional Recognition (e.g. at the Town Hall or Library).

Or you could support activities within local schools such as Aboriginal flag raising, an art competition or display, or arrange guest speakers. 

How can we help?

We can support you to identify relevant local groups in your area, and provide you with resources on Reconciliation Week and this year’s theme. An electronic version of the Reconciliation Week posters are available on the Reconciliation Australia website

We can also help to promote your event via our online Reconciliation Week Calendar - please enter your event details on our website

If you have any questions please contact:

p:  0427 030 545

PO Box 1562, Collingwood Vic 3066

National Reconciliation Week 2015

Geelong's Deadly Dancers, recipients of a Highly Commended Award in the 2015 Community HART Awards, presented at Korin Gamadji on 28 May. Photo: James Henry

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is now complete and what a bumper year it's been!! RecVic staff, Council members and volunteers were involved in 43 events throughout the week. Thanks to support from Reconciliation Australia we were able to provide 13 small grants for reconciliation activities during the week. Across Victoria there were well over 100 events, with thousands across Australia.

One of the highlights was this year’s HART Awards, where the Shearwater Festival and City of Yarra's Smith Street Dreaming took out the honours. A huge congratulations to all the finalists this year. Check out our website for details of all the winners and finalists as well as for photos and event reports from all around the State.

Around the traps

National Sorry Day commemoration at Port Phillip Citizens for Reconciliation hosted in South Melbourne on 26 May. 

Around 80 guests attended, including the Mayor, four Councillor,  two former Councillors, Deb Chapman from RV, friends from Inner South Community Services, Galiamble and the Eco Centre. You could have heard a pin drop as MC and PPCfR Co-Chair, Dennis Fisher, spoke before inviting guests to the microphone.  Sandy Greenwood read a moving poem about members of her family, all stolen that she’d written that morning and Declan Furber-Gillick read a poem about visiting his grandmother’s grave with his father. Singer Maurial Spearim, harmoniously accompanied by singer/guitarist Brett Lee, ended her set powerfully. Many thanks to Aunty Judith ‘Jacko’ Jackson; for her warm Acknowledgement to Country, to Cr Amanda Stevens, Mayor, City of Port Phillip, and in absentia, Sue Pennicuik, MLA, for their messages of support. (Parliament was sitting so Sue and Martin Foley, MP for Albert Park, were unable to attend).

Some of the 80 guests.

L-R: Kate Munro, Sandy Greenwood with singers Brett Lee and Maurial Spearim.


NRW Resources for schools 

Reconciliation Australia has developed this Teaching and Learning Ideas Kit 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.

The Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Victoria has also kindly shared these new 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