Be Brave. Make Change.
Watch Vice-Chancellor Duncan Maskell's Acknowledgement of Country
This week marks an important event in Australia’s annual calendar.
The University of Melbourne celebrates National Reconciliation Week from Friday 27 May until Friday 3 June with a range of events and activities for students, staff and the wider community.
Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. The heart of this journey is about building relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.
The theme for this year’s National Reconciliation Week ‘Be Brave. Make Change’ encourages bravery to tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so that together we can make change for the benefit of all Australians.
We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part in collectively building relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.
National Reconciliation Week is an opportunity for the University community to participate in a bespoke program developed to facilitate learning and understanding of the five aspects that contribute to meaningful reconciliation: historical acceptance, race relations, equity, institutional integrity and unity.
For reconciliation to be effective, it must involve truthful reflection of the past, ensuring the wrongs of the past are never repeated and actively addressing issues of inequality, systemic racism, and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or reduced. Effective reconciliation also includes recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of our national identity.
And on Pursuit, read commentary from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander academics, including other University experts, that focus on Indigenous knowledge, issues, achievements and opportunities.
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What is National Reconciliation Week?
The dates 27 May and 3 June commemorate two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey.
On 27 May 1967 a referendum altered the Australian Constitution with more than 90 per cent of Australian voters saying ‘Yes’ to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census and give the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Mabo decision made by the High Court on 3 June 1992 was a turning point for the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' rights, because it acknowledged their unique connection with the land. It also led to the Australian Parliament passing the Native Title Act in 1993.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
Established in 2000 Reconciliation Australia (RA) is our nation’s peak body providing leadership on reconciliation.
RA encourages all Australians to carry the spirit of reconciliation in their hearts, minds and actions as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, whose uninterrupted connection to this country has endured for at least 60 000 years, distinguishing them as the oldest continuous living culture on planet Earth.
Make reconciliation part of your story, and your future.
Our contribution to reconciliation
On 30 May 2018 the University officially launched its third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) April 2018 – December 2022.
Our third RAP will focus on 14 Signature Projects, the outcomes of which we believe will have transformational impact well beyond the University, and signal our intention to invest in reconciliation at a deeper level.
We are very proud to announce that RA has confirmed Elevate status on our RAP which signals our leadership in this work. (Read more about RAPs and their status)
About the artist and the artwork used in our Plan
The University commissioned Dixon Patten to create original artwork to use in our RAP. Dixon Patten is a proud Yorta Yorta and Gunnai man who has family bloodlines from Dhudhuroa, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri, Yuin, Wemba Wemba, Barapa Barapa and Monaro. He has worked with the University on its Cultural Awareness Training program and other projects.
The artwork represents the journey taken by the University of Melbourne, working with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, to develop this RAP. The pathway depicts life’s course and the waves represent the ripple effect that the RAP’s signature projects will have on students, staff and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous communities. The circles in the middle are our community – the motivation for, and guiding influence on, this RAP.
Dixon Patten, artist and designer (www.bayila.com.au)
2022 gives us the opportunity to gather in person once again to celebrate National Reconciliation Week.
Check out the fabulous selection of events being hosted across the University - both on campus and online.