Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people celebrate events that have spiritual importance to them. These include birth, initiation, death and events that are based on seasons. Songs, dances and body decoration are always involved. Stories of the Dreaming are also sometimes included.

Ceremonies are held sometimes at places that are sacred. Sometimes they are secret and only men or women are able to attend. Other events are open to both men and women and sometimes the public.

Singing plays a large part of ceremonies, with the didgeridoo also playing in the background. The dances tell stories and the dancers bodies are decorated with ochre and charcoal.



This is held at Mungabareena, near the Murray river in NSW around November. It celebrates the arrival of the bogong moths - a traditional source of food (bush tucker). More recently it also celebrates the coming together of people - both European and indigenous Australians.

Ngan Girra means 'gathering place' and this festival celebrates indigenous culture - dance, stories art. In this way, the traditions of indigenous Australians are passed on to younger people.


This is the largest annual festival of indigenous people of north east Arnhem land ( Northern Territory). It celebrates the traditional culture of dance (bunggul), song (manikay) and art (nuku dhulang). There are also stalls of bush tucker and bush medicine.


This annual festival brings both indigenous and non-indigenous young people together. It runs over 2-3 days and includes sport, dance, markets and health. It began in 1998 and is a sister festival to the 'Rock Eisteddford'


"National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observation Committee".

Held every year during July, the theme for 2006 was "Respect the past, believe in the future". It is a celebration of indigenous culture, history and the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.



Held between 27 May and June 3 each year, these two dates are important for both indigenous and non-idigenous Australians. Reconciliation means to working towards a better relationship with each other. For Australians, it also means accepting the past - especially when thinking about how the British settled Australia and not thinking that the land actually belonged to the Aboriginal people.  

On 27th May 1967, a special vote was held in Australia called a 'Referendum'. On this day, most Australians voted to have sections removed from our 'Constitution' (a country's basic rules) that did not treat indigenous people the same as non-indigenous people. This is called 'discrimination'.

On June 3rd  1992 it was accepted in court that Aboriginal people did have rights to the land in Australia before the arrival of British settlers in 1788.

Each year there is a different theme - in 2006 it was:

       "Reconciliation - take the next step."

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