Australia recognises certain days throughout the year that have great significance to the Aboriginal history and culture. Some are celebrations of milestones in the reconciliation process; others are commemorations of the tragic events of the past, but all are aimed to encourage people to learn from past mistakes so future generations can live together in harmony.
THIS PAGE LISTS ALL THE ABORIGINAL EVENTS HAPPENING IN TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND. SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT MORE.
"They say we have been here for 40,000 years, but it is much longer.
We have been here since time began. We have come directly out of the Dreamtime of our creative ancestors."
FOR A COMPLETE RUNDOWN OF ALL THE MAJOR EVENTS IN TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND, PLEASE CHECK OUT OUR TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND EVENTS CALENDAR.
LAURA DANCE AND MUSICAL FESTIVAL, LAURA (MAP)
Aboriginal culture is still very strong in North Queensland. In the early 1980's the Indigenous communities of Cape York relived tradition, and celebrated their culture, through song, dance, music and story. This traditional gathering has become the Laura Aboriginal Cultural Festival. This festival takes place every two years in the small outback town of Laura, 300 kilometres north of Cairns. Crowds gather from all over Australia and overseas, along with many different Indigenous communities mainly from the Cape York region, in the celebration of the Aboriginal culture. Traditional Indigenous sporting events and competitions will also be held during the festival, so start training if you want to do well in the art of spear and boomerang thowing.
The Laura Dance and Cultural Festival is, without any doubt, the largest and longest Aboriginal festival of its kind in Australia. But remember alcohol and drugs are banned on the festival grounds, the traditional ground dance and, thus, a sacred place.
For more information about Laura Dance and Cultural Festival as well as for other events that take place in Tropica North Queensland, please visit our TROPICAL NORTH QUEENSLAND'S EVENT CALENDAR page.
26 January AUSTRALIA DAY
This date marks the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove in 1788.
The early history between Aborigines and European settlers was not a pretty one, so it's no surprise that many Aborigines consider Australia Day to be a Day of Mourning / Survival Day / Invasion Day. The day is marked by Aboriginal people in Sydney with a Survival Day concert.
21 March HARMONY DAY - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
This date coincides with United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and began to be commemorated in 1999 as a day to encourage tolerance and understanding between Australians of all races and cultural backgrounds.
26 May NATIONAL SORRY DAY
This day marks the anniversary of the 1997 tabling of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission report Bringing them Home. Hundreds of thousands of Australians participated in the first National Sorry Day in 1998. The following year the day was used to launch the 'Journey of Healing', with ten pairs of message sticks which had been despatched from Uluru three weeks earlier being received in the capital cities.
Every year since, there have been gatherings and activities across the country-including bridge walks, barbecues, concerts and a Message Sticks Festival at the Sydney Opera House. A National Sorry Day Committee maintains a web-site with an events calendar at www.journeyofhealing.com
27 May - 3 June NATIONAL RECONCILIATION WEEK
The week began as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation (1993) and was organised by the Faith Communities for Reconciliation and has now grown into the National Reconciliation Week. The week starts off on the 27 of May, which was chosen because it is the anniversary of the 1967 referendum and ends with 'Mabo Day' on the 3rd of June. On the 27th of May 2000, national leaders gathered for the 'Corroboree 2000: Sharing our Future' ceremony at the Sydney Opera House-marking the end of the ten year 'Process of Reconciliation' which had begun with the establishing of the Council for Reconciliation in 1990, and marking the release of the Council's Australian Declaration Towards Reconciliation and Roadmap for Reconciliation. On the next day over 250 000 people joined the Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and many others joined in on walks and events in other cities. Each year since, the week has featured activities across the country.
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. On the 10th anniversary of this day in 2002 there were many calls for the day to become a public holiday, an official National Mabo Day.
1 July COMING OF THE LIGHT FESTIVAL
A day when many Torres Strait Islanders, both in the Strait and on mainland Australia, commemorate with religious and cultural ceremonies the day in 1871 when the London Missionary Society first arrived in the Torres Strait.
ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER SUNDAY
The First Sunday in July, to kick off NAIDOC week with some prayer and honest reflection. It is a chance for all to celebrate the life of Australia's Indigenous Peoples.
NAIDOC WEEK- First full week of July
This week grew out of the National Aborigines Day and has become a time to celebrate the survival of indigenous people, to increase awareness of indigenous heritage, to recognise the indigenous contribution to the national identity and to articulate the continuing need for justice and equity.
4 August NATIONAL ABORIGINAL AND ISLANDER'S CHILDREN'S DAY
This day was first observed in 1988 and each year has a special theme. The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care has always produced a poster to celebrate the Day.
9 August INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD'S INDIGENOUS PEOPLE
This day was designated by the General Assembly in 1994 to be observed each year throughout the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People (1995-2004). This day, on the anniversary of the first meeting in 1982 of the Working Group on Indigenous Populations, was to be an opportunity for intergovernmental and non-governmental groups to work with indigenous people and others to organise activities that contribute to a greater appreciation of indigenous history, culture, languages, rights and aspirations. The Decade's theme is 'Indigenous people: partnership in action' and its purpose is to recognise the value and diversity of indigenous cultures and to strengthen international cooperation for the solution of problems faced by indigenous people.