National Reconciliation Week

Each year, National Reconciliation Week celebrates the rich culture and history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The theme for this year's National Reconciliation Week is "Let's Take the Next Steps", which asks all Australians to be a part of the next big steps in our nation's reconciliation journey.

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) runs from 27 May – 3 June 2017. These dates mark significant milestones in Australia's reconciliation journey: The 1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision, respectively. In 2017, we reflect on two significant anniversaries in Australia's reconciliation journey – May 27—Marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum which saw over 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and recognise them in the national census. Also, 25 years since the historic Mabo decision. As we commemorate these significant milestones, we ask all Australians to be a part of the next big steps in our nation's reconciliation journey..

For more information on National Reconciliation week, please visit Reconciliation Australia (opens in a new window).

The University's Commitment to Reconciliation

Acknowledging this day in May 1998, the Western Sydney University community gathered in a special ceremony at Frogmore House and made a Reconciliation Statement, embracing the Council for Reconciliation's vision and highlighting the University's commitment to participate in the creation of a confident and harmonious nation where:

  • we acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original inhabitants of this continent and we recognise their loss of land, children, languages, health and kin
  • we believe that Australia will only become a mature nation if the past is acknowledged, the present understood and the future confidently based on the co-existence of rights.

To mark the day we planted a eucalypt native to Western Sydney, in front of which a small plaque reads "May understanding and reconciliation grow with this tree".

This tree, having weathered drought and heatwaves, windstorms and hail, now stands at over six metres tall, and symbolises the strength of our commitment to practical reconciliation and to a future built on a recognition of the immense suffering of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and individuals, and on a conviction that we, as a nation, must do better.

Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week events

  • BANKSTOWN: Tuesday 30 May, morning tea, 10.30am to 1.00pm, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, building 12, ground floor, lecture room, Bankstown campus.
  • PARRAMATTA: Tuesday 30 May, afternoon tea, 3.00pm, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, building PA, ground floor Parramatta South campus.
  • KINGSWOOD: Wednesday 31 May, morning tea, 10.30am, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, building N, Playhouse, Kingswood campus.
  • HAWKSBURY: Wednesday 31 May, afternoon tea, 3.00pm, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, building K4, Hawksbury campus.
  • CAMPBELLTOWN: Thursday 1 June, Morning tea, 10:30am, Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education, building 3,  Campbelltown campus.
  • PARRAMATTA: Friday 2 June, 'Walking with our Elders on Campus' afternoon tea, 1.30pm, Female Orphan School, building EZ, Geoffrey Robertson room EZ.1.57, Parramatta  South campus.
  • Reconciliation Week,Morning Tea: Wednesday, 7 June, 11.00am – 12.00pm,Werrington North, Building AD, Room LG.18. 
  • Food 4 Thought seminar on the Universities Australia Indigenous Strategy 2017-2020,
    Tuesday 30 May 12.30pm to 2.00pm,Conference Room 3, Building EZ, Female Orphan School,
    Parramatta South campus.

The School of Education has a range of teaching resources available to staff for their use during Reconciliation Week. We encourage our Pre-service teachers to consider using these resources if they are teaching in schools during the week, as well as adding the resources to their portfolios for future reference.

If you have any enquiries, please call Trudy Healey, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment  and Engagement on 9678 7577 or 0412320553.  

Other upcoming events celebrating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture include:

  • 'Our Languages Matter' Research Symposium will be held between 9am and 5pm on Monday, 23 October and Tuesday, 24 October at Parramatta South campus..
  • The annual Yarramundi Lecture: Our Languages Matter will be held at 6.30pm on Monday, 23 October 2017, on Parramatta South campus.