Key Calendar events for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples


Survival Day or Invasion Day
26 January

Annual events take place each year across the nation such as ‘Yabun’ in Sydney, the Survival Day Picnic on the Frankston Foreshore in Victoria, stalls and the Share the Spirit Festival in the Treasury Gardens, Victoria. The events celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. The events showcase all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, including music, dance, food, language, politics, literature, and arts and crafts and are a wonderful opportunity to learn more about Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage.


Anniversary of the National Apology
13 February

On 13 February 2008 the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd MP delivered his national apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Government. The apology marked an important milestone in Australia’s history. By validating the experiences of the Stolen Generations, the foundations have been laid for healing to take place and for a reconciled Australia in which everyone belongs.


Anniversary of the signing of the Close the Gap Statement of Intent on Indigenous Health Equality
20 March

The government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders signed a Statement of Intent in the Great Hall of Parliament House to work together to achieve equality in health status and life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by the year 2030.


National Close the Gap on Indigenous Health Equality Day
2 April

The day gives people the opportunity to show their support for the Close the Gap Indigenous Health Equality Campaign which calls for closing the 17-year life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and TorresStrait Islanders and other Australians.


National Sorry Day
26 May

The Bringing them home report recommended (Recommendation No 7.a) that a National Sorry Day be held each year on 26 May ‘to commemorate the history of forcible removals and its effects’. As a result of this recommendation the community-based organisation the National Sorry Day Committee (NSDC) was formed.

National Reconciliation Week
27 May – 3 June

National Reconciliation Week is held annually and celebrates the rich culture and history of the First Australians. National Reconciliation Week began in 1996 to provide focus for nationwide reconciliation activities.

National Reconciliation Week coincides with two significant dates in Australia’s history which provide strong symbols of the aspirations for reconciliation. May 27 marks the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and June 3 marks the anniversary of the High Court’s judgement in the 1992 Mabo case.

Commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander war veterans
27 May – 3 June

Ceremonies commemorating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander veterans’ are held in the major capital cities during Reconciliation Week. Organised by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, see


Mabo Day
3 June

Mabo Day is held on 3 June to celebrate Eddie Mabo, who helped overturn ‘terra nullius’ in a ten year campaign through the courts ending in the historic High Court Mabo Judgement.


National NAIDOC Week
8 – 15 July 2018

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. It has since taken on the acronym NAIDOC and the celebrations begin on the first Sunday in July and run for one week.

There is a national theme every year and some past NAIDOC themes include ‘Respecting our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth’ (2009), ‘Advance Australia Fair?’ (2008) and ‘Advance Australia Where?’ (1972). One of the main events of the week is the NAIDOC Ball and Awards.

The annual awards are celebrated in the national focus city and recognise the outstanding contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders make to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their communities and beyond, or to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the wider community, or the excellence they’ve shown in their chosen field.



National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day
4 August

An annual event established by SNAICC in 1988 to highlight the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. SNAICC encourages all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations, mainstream child and family services, government and early childhood services, schools and any other key stakeholders to celebrate this day.

International Day of the World’s Indigenous People
9 August

In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People will be observed on 9 August ever year, during the first International Decade of the Worlds Indigenous People. On 16 December 2005, the General Assembly adopted the Programme of Action for the Second International Decade of the World’s Indigenous People and adopted ‘Partnership for action and dignity’ as its theme. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous People was continued as a part of this Programme of Action. The day is observed in United Nations offices in New York, Geneva and other offices of the United Nations.


The Deadly Awards

The Deadly Awards are Indigenous Australia’s peak awards for music, the arts, entertainment, and sport and community achievement and are presented at a function annually at the Sydney Opera House. Check the website at:

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Last Modified: 16th May 2019