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Calendar of significant events

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culturally significant dates in 2020

Date Significant event About the significant event
February 13 Anniversary of National Apology Day On February 2008, prime minister Kevin Rudd delivered the National Apology to Australia’s Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples for the injustices of the past government policies, particularly the Stolen Generations.
March 19 National Close the Gap Day
(the third Thursday of March each year)
National Close the Gap Day is an annual event that raises the awareness and seeks to close the gap with respect to life expectancy, child mortality, educational and employment outcomes between Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non- Indigenous Australians.
May 26 National Sorry Day National Sorry Day provides an opportunity for people to come together and share the journey towards healing for the Stolen Generations, their families and communities.
May 27 1967 Referendum The 1967 Referendum was a landmark achievement following decades of activism by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous people where more than 90% of Australians voted in favour of amending two sections of the Australian Constitution.
May 27 to June 3 National Reconciliation Week National Reconciliation Week celebrations commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the anniversaries of the successful 1967 Referendum and High Court Mabo Decision.
June 3 Mabo Day On June 3, 1982, the High Court of Australia overturned the principle of “terra nullius” or “nobody’s land” as claimed by the British when they first arrived in this country. This decision paved the way for the Native Title legislation.
July 1 Coming of the Light The Coming of the Light is celebrated annually by Torres Strait Islander peoples. It marks the adoption of Christianity throughout island communities during the late nineteenth century.
August 4 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is an opportunity for Australians to learn about the crucial impact that community, culture, and family play in the life of every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child.
September 2 Indigenous Literacy Day This day is a national celebration of culture, stories, language, and literacy. This day raises awareness of the disadvantages experienced in remote communities and advocates for more access to literacy resources.
September 13 Anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Rights if Indigenous People The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) was adopted by the General Assembly on Thursday, September 13, 2007.
November 8-15  NAIDOC Week NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia to celebrate history, culture, and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Updated August 14, 2020