National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June)

Kaya from Wadjak Noongar Boodja

I acknowledge and pay respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the state and Elders past and present. I acknowledge Aboriginal people as belonging to one of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth and their enduring connections to Country, community, language and culture that continues through generations.

We celebrate National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June) on the same dates every year for a very significant reason. May 27 marks the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum, the day in 1967 that saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to change the Constitution so that like all other Australians, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people would be counted as part of the population and the Commonwealth would be able to make laws with respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

June 3 marks the 1992 Australian High Court delivery of the Mabo decision, the culmination of Eddie Koiki Mabo’s challenge to the myth that at the time of colonisation, Australia was ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one), that led to the recognition of the Meriam people as the Traditional Owners of the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait. This landmark decision paved the way for native title rights and interests over land and waters.

The theme of National Reconciliation Week 2024 is “Now more than ever”, a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will – and must – continue. In the words of Reconciliation WA’s CEO Jody Nunn, “In a post-referendum environment there are some very real challenges that we need to confront and walk together to do the work”. 

This National Reconciliation Week I encourage you to get involved and show your support for reconciliation by joining in the many in-person and online events Reconciliation WA has planned. Due to swimming and the disruption to our normal teaching and learning program the school will be holding activities over the next few weeks, including NAIDOC week (later in the term).

We each have a responsibility to challenge ourselves to better understand Aboriginal ways of knowing, being and doing in our own personal and professional journeys. Now, more than ever.


Aaron Young