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Aboriginal People:
a north east Victorian perspective

This section provides information on the Aboriginal peoples of north east Victoria.

Communicating Effectively
This section provides information that will assist in informed and respectful communication with Aboriginal peoples.

Historical Information &
Key Dates

This section provides information about important Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander historical and current events.

Aboriginal Health Promotion
This section provides information about Aboriginal health promotion.

Protocols & Procdures
This section provides information about protocols and procedures related to Aboriginal services, organisations and communities.

Producing Appropriate Information
This section provides information about how to ensure materials used are respectful and appropriately acknowledged.

Historical Information & Key Dates

What are some of the key historical events for Aboriginal people and communities?

Date Event Description
1967 Constitutional amendment referendum The Commonwealth Government acquired power to legislate for Aboriginal Australians and allowed for their inclusion in the census.
1971 The Aboriginal flag first flown Designed by Harold Joseph Thomas, A Luritja man from Central Australia, the Aboriginal flag was first flown in Adelaide on National Aborigines Day, 12 July.
1972 Self-determination introduced into government policy The Department of Aboriginal Affairs was established, and the Whitlam Government introduced the policy of self-determination.
1975 Racial Discrimination Act On 11 June the Commonwealth Racial Discrimination Act came into effect.
1985 Uluru handed back Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) was handed back to the traditional owners.
1989 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission was established by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989 and began operations on 5 March 1990.
1992 Native title (Mabo) In 1992, the High Court decision on Native title (Mabo) overturned the concept of 'terra nullius' (that land belonged to no one at the time of European invasion) and established that Native title can exist over particular kinds of land. This led to the establishment of the Native Title Act 1993.
1992 Torres Strait Islander Flag Bernard Namok of Thursday Island designed the Torres Strait Islander flag.
1997 Bringing Them Home The Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families, Bringing Them Home, was released. In 1999, the Federal Government issued a statement of sincere regret over the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.
1998 26 May, National Sorry Day The first National Sorry Day was held one year after the tabling of the Bringing Them Home report which recommended that a National Sorry Day be declared.
2005 Abolition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission On 16 March Parliament passed the ATSIC Amendment Bill, repealing provisions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Act 1989 (Commonwealth) and thereby abolishing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and its structures from 30 June 2005. vii
     

What key dates are significant to Aboriginal people and communities?

Date Significance
26 January
Survival Day
Aboriginal Australians choose to mark Australia Day as a day to highlight the invasion of Australia by Europeans and to acknowledge the survival of their cultural heritage.
26 May – 3 June
National Reconciliation Week
This week begins with National Sorry Day on 26 May and ends with Mabo Day on 3 June.
26 May
National Sorry Day
This day marks the anniversary of the 1997 tabling of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families, Bringing Them Home (April 1997)
3 June
Mabo Day
This day commemorates the anniversary of the 1992 High Court decision in the case brought by Eddie Mabo and others, which recognised the existence in Australia of Native title rights.
First full week of July
NAIDOC Week
The first Sunday of July sees the beginning of a week dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people to celebrate NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Day Observance Committee) Week. It is a celebration for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people of their survival. It is also a time for all Australians to celebrate the unique contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions and cultures and to bring issues of concern to the attention of governments and the broader community.
August
National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day
This day was first observed in 1988 and each year it has a special theme. viii
November
Ngan Girra Festival
Ngan Girra means 'gathering' and this local event celebrates the heritage of Mungabareena Reserve on the banks of the Murray River as a meeting place.
   

Where can I get more information about what is happening for each of these dates?

Information can be obtained by:

vii Victorian Government Department of Human Services, op.cit. pp.20-22.
viii Ibid. p.13
ix Ibid. p.14

Reference List