Timeline of Indigenous Australia

Respectful relationships

Activity: Consider a timeline of significant events.

Fostering reconciliation through historical acceptance requires all Australians to understand and accept the wrongs of the past and the impact of these wrongs. Accordingly, Australia can then make amends for the wrongs of the past and ensure that these wrongs are never repeated.

Review significant events in the Reconciliation Australia Share Our Pride timeline.

See the Share Our Pride website or PDF file.

Investigate our shared history since European colonisation. Discuss the events that unfolded at the time of colonisation and consider the ongoing impacts of intergenerational trauma on Australia’s First Peoples. Critically reflect on the questions below:

  • Lieutenant James Cook was issued with orders from the British Empire that if he discovered the great southern land he was to do what?
  • In the early 20th century who had total control over the lives of Aboriginal Australians, dictating where they could live and be employed?
  • In what period was it determined that children with non-Aboriginal ancestry should be taken from their families and raised in white institutions and what is this practice now known as?
  • In what year did the Commonwealth Citizenship and Nationality Act give the category of Australian Citizenship to all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the first time?
  • When was the Commonwealth Electoral Act amended to give the vote to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at Federal elections?
  • In the 1967 Referendum what did more than 90 per cent of Australian voters in all six states say YES to?
  • What was the 1992 Mabo decision about?
  • What major events impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occurred in 2007 and 2008?
  • What are some of the wrongs of the past identified in the timeline?
  • How does identifying and understanding some of wrongs of the past help us to better understand some of the challenges and complexities still present today?
  • How does identifying and understanding some of the wrongs of the past help us to better address and make amends for these wrongs today, and in the future?
  • What are some of the positive achievements identified in the timeline?
  • How have some of the positive achievements identified in the timeline helped to support the reconciliation process?
  • What are some other positive achievements and amendments that you think need to be made in the future to continue to drive the reconciliation process forward?
  • How might you effectively and appropriately provide opportunities for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, and understand how these can contribute to a shared story of reconciliation?

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Image: From the Share our Pride website