Commemorating the landmarks in Australia’s reconciliation journey

By Donna Shepherd • Managing Director
• Articles

Today marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week, a time commemorating significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum which amended the Constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census; and the High Court judgement in the historic Mabo v Queensland case that introduced the legal doctrine of native title into Australian law, respectively.

This week also marks the fourth anniversary of the Uluru Statement from the Heart at Yulara in the Northern Territory, when Aboriginal leaders from across the nation first proposed structural reforms to address the challenges experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia.

In Western Australia this month marks 75 years since the historic Pilbara Strike of 1946, when 800 Aboriginal pastoral workers in the Pilbara first walked off their stations for fair wages and working conditions, sparking a movement which inspired ensuing campaigns for Indigenous rights nationwide.

At Creating Communities, our work seeks to empower people to become change agents in their own communities in pursuit of greater respect, diversity and equity. We believe in bringing people and organisations together to build common pathways forward and uncovering opportunities to change our shared spaces for living and working for the better.

This day, this week and this month are opportunities for us to pause and celebrate the landmarks in Australia’s reconciliation journey, to recognise the Aboriginal sovereignty achieved by the Pilbara Strike of 1946, and to add our voices to the calls for enshrinement of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.

In Newman, in Western Australia’s Pilbara, we have been proud to sign the Ngaa Ngayunkurnu Kapukurri - This is Our Dream Cultural Compact recognising Nyiyaparli and Martu sovereignty of their lands and committing to work toward a shared future.

There are many ways we can all take action with the Uluru Statement from the Heart to push for enshrining an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament in the Constitution.

You can find some of them here.

Reconciliation Week is part of a movement for a fair, equal and reconciled country, and in pursuit of this, Reconciliation Australia has compiled a compiled a list of 20 actions you can take for reconciliation here.

Here in Western Australia, the Ngaa Ngayunkurnu Kapukurri - This is Our Dream Cultural Compact is an invitation to all people, communities, organisations and government to walk forward in a new way acknowledging Nyiyaparli and Martu land, culture, language and law. It maps a journey of mutual respect, inclusive decision-making and increased access to opportunities.

To add your signature to the Ngaa Ngayunkurnu Kapukurri - This is Our Dream Cultural Compact, you can get in touch with us here.

Achieving social change is always about bringing parties together in productive ways, and we are proud to be doing this work alongside communities and changemakers in Western Australia.

We hope you’ll join in this work in any small way that you can, and help to increase the opportunities available to all.

Donna Shepherd is the Managing Director at Creating Communities.