WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this article may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is held each year between 27 May to 03 June, dates which commemorate two significant historical events.
The first was on 27 May 1967, when a referendum was passed to change the constitution to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as part of the Commonwealth of Australia’s population. It also brought them under Australian law rather than being placed under separate laws and policies.
The second was the Mabo decision, named after Eddie Koiki Mabo, who for ten years fought a legal claim with the Australian High Court. The High Court ruled on 03 June 1992 that Murray Island in the Torres Strait belongs to its native inhabitants who had lived there for generations. Sadly, Eddie had passed away earlier that year.
This was a landmark decision that paved the way for native titles and recognition of pre-existing Indigenous land rights. The Native Title Act was passed in 1993 which created a system for First Australians to make native title claims over their lands that had been handed down through generations.
In 2023, the National Reconciliation Week theme is ‘Be a Voice for Generations’. It urges all Australians to use their power, their words, and their voice to create a better and more just Australia for all of us.
This week we will release a series of articles that explore the history of Indigenous Australian service in Army and the ADF and explore some significant Indigenous Australian military members that have been Voices for Generations. As The Cove commemorates National Reconciliation Week and recognises the work of generations past that have benefitted the generations of the present, we ask that you be a voice to benefit future generations, just as we aim to be here at The Cove.