National Reconciliation Week

Saturday 27th May 2017  to Saturday 3rd June 2017

Location: Nation-wide , WA (View map)


National Reconciliation Week start and end dates mark the anniversaries of the 1967 referendum and the Mabo decision, respectively. 2017 marks the 50th and 25th anniversaries of these historic milestones in reconciliation. EWB has a role to play in this week. Read more below.

1967 Referendum - 27 May 2017

In 1967 over 90% of Australians voted in a Referendum to remove clauses from the Australian Constitution which discriminated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. The Referendum also gave the Commonwealth Government the power to make laws on behalf of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.


National Reconciliation Week - 27 May - 3 June 2017

National Reconciliation Week was initiated in 1996 to provide a special focus for nationwide activities. The week is a time to reflect on achievements so far and the things which must still be done to achieve reconciliation.

National Reconciliation Week offers people across Australia the opportunity to focus on reconciliation, to hear about the cultures and histories of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to explore new and better ways of meeting challenges in our communities.

As part of EWB's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), EWB plans to celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) to strengthen and maintain relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, volunteers and other staff.

Each EWB region is encouraged to:

- organise one NRW event

- register our NRW events via Reconciliation Australia's NRW website

- encourage staff to participate in external events to recognise and celebrate NRW

For event ideas, resources and to register your event, check out:


Mabo Day - 3 June 2017

Mabo Day marks the anniversary of the High Court of Australia’s judgement in 1992 in the Mabo case. This is a day of particular significance for Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo’s name is synonymous with native title rights. His story began in May 1982 when he and fellow Murray (Mer) Islanders David Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice and Celuia Salee instituted a claim in the High Court for native title to the Murray (Mer) Islands in the Torres Strait.

The claim was made against the State of Queensland, which responded by seeking to legislate to extinguish retrospectively any native title on the Islands. This was challenged in the High Court on the grounds that it was inconsistent with the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act. The High Court, in an historical judgement delivered on 3 June 1992, accepted the claim by Eddie Mabo and the other claimants that their people (the Meriam people) had occupied the Islands of Mer for hundreds of years before the arrival of the British. The High Court found that the Meriam people were ‘entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of lands in the Murray Islands.’ The decision overturned a legal fiction that Australia was terra nullius (a land belonging to no one) at the time of British colonisation.