National Reconciliation Week

Reconciliation is a story that belongs to all of us, join the conversation.

What it’s all about

National Sorry Day is a commemoration of the forcible removal of Aboriginal children and its effects on Aboriginal families and communities.

This is followed by National Reconciliation Week, which is a time to reflect on achievements so far in reconciliation efforts between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. More so, it is a time to focus on what is still to be done and to commit to working together to ensure proper reconciliation in Australia.

The significance of these dates

May 27 marks the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum in which more than 90 per cent of Australians voted to remove clauses from the Australian Constitution which discriminated against Indigenous Australians.

June 3 marks the anniversary of the High Court’s judgment in the 1992 Mabo case. The decision recognised the Native Title rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the original inhabitants of the land. It also overturned the myth of terra nullius, which was the belief that the continent was an empty, un-owned land before the arrival of Europeans in 1788.

What’s happening in 2009

Come along to Wellington Square, East Perth, on Tuesday 26th May from 12-2pm to commemorate National Sorry Day 2009. Enjoy music, interesting speakers and a free sausage sizzle.

The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2009 is ‘See a person, not a stereotype’. Keep an eye out for Reconciliation Australia’s posters around the State Library.

Want to learn more? Take a virtual tour of the State Library’s Indigenous resources at View images online and learn how to access a range of resources. While you’re there, make sure to book your place in the next free tour!

Also have a look at the Australian Reconciliation Barometer. This is a national study that looks at the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It explores past and current perceptions and how these affect progress towards reconciliation and closing the gap. Click here to download it:

For more information about reconciliation or to see what else is happening near you, visit Reconciliation Australia at: and

Reconcile, and we can be the difference.
John Butler

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