The NAIDOC week is celebrated all across the country of Australia every year in the month of July. The major aim of celebrating this week is that it represents the culture, history as well as the achievements of the Aboriginal as well as Torres Strait Islander people of Australia. The celebration of this week is not limited to only one class of people or the Indigenous communities, but extends to all the Australians who take part in the activities of this celebration with great zeal and joy. The people come around from different walks of life to support their local communities of the Aboriginals and the Torres Straits.

NAIDOC basically stands for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee has been responsible for the organization of all the activities carried out in the celebration throughout the week ever since its foundation. The whole affair and celebration of the NAIDOC week is marvelous.

NAIDOC WeekHistorical background:

The name to this week was adopted by the organizing committee in the year 1991. But, the plan and idea behind the NAIDOC week has its roots in the letter which was written by an Aboriginal Australian, William Cooper which was solely focused at the Aboriginal communities as well as the churches. This letter was written on the behalf of the Progressive Association of the Australian Aborigines, which was nothing but an umbrella group for certain Aboriginal justice movements. This association brought together a huge circle of a number of Indigenous leaders such as William Ferguson, Douglas Nicholls, Margaret Tucker and Jack Patten. In the year 1937, the group prepared the essentials as to what would become the popular day of mourning in the year 1938. This association and planning sparked a great one-off protest. It further stimulated and gave rise to a national observerance which was coined by the churches at the very first instance. This soon became a national celebration.


Every year during the celebration of the NAIDOC week, a different city of Australia becomes the host of the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony. This host city is selected by the National NAIDOC Committee which also carries out the selection of the National NAIDOC Poster Competition as well as the NAIDOC awards recipients. These celebrations are held all around the cities of Australia in the month of July every year in order to celebrate the culture, history as well as the achievements of the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginals. This week is celebrated by different class of people and is not limited upto the above stated communities. A number of schools, government agencies, local councils and workplaces take part in the celebration of the National NAIDOC week.

The NAIDOC week is celebrated in a number of ways where people involve themselves in a number of activities. These activities include educational and cultural activities at different schools, workplaces and other public displays. People take part in listening to the Indigenous Australian Music, reading the stories of the dream time, visiting the websites of Indigenous Australians as well as taking part in several art competitions.

Host city of 2016:

The NAIDOC week in 2016 will be celebrated from 3rd July to 10th July. The theme of the celebration of 2016 is Songlines : The living narrative of our nation. The host city for the year 2016 is Darwin.

For more key events review the below links:

Harmony Day – World’s Indigenous Peoples – Mowanjum Festival


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The first fleet of western people arrived in Australia on January 26, 1788. To commemorate this, they labelled it ‘Australia Day’. However, this occasion only celebrates the history of the European settlers, and not the first Australians, the Aboriginal people. NAIDOC Week, in the 21st century, is an annual celebration of the Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people in recognition of their culture, history and achievement. This week provides them an opportunity to share their history and their stories. For the Australian nation, NAIDOC Week holds a great significant cultural value, as it educates Australians on the history of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This week is aimed at generating respect and understanding of their aboriginal culture and celebrating their rich history and tradition. These celebrations are frequently open for other Australians to participate in. Many schools, government offices, universities, churches and businesses organize their own cultural and NAIDOC Week learning activities.

NAIDOC stands for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. The committee was formed in Sydney on Australia Day, 1938, when a group of approximately 100 Aboriginal people gathered for the first Day of Mourning, as a protest against the treatment of their people. Today, NAIDOC is a celebration of history and has since been extended from one day to a week.

Every year NAIDOC Week celebrations are organized in a host city and are centered on a theme chosen by the national organizing committee. Some of the themes since 2000 include:

  • 2000: Building Pride in Our Communities (Townsville)
  • 2001: Treaty-Let’s Get it Right (Melbourne)
  • 2002: Recognition, Rights and Reform (Sydney)
  • 2003: Our Children Our Future (Hobart)
  • 2004: Self-determination-Our Community-Our Future-Our Responsibility (Perth)
  • 2005: Our Future Begins with Solidarity (Adelaide)
  • 2006: Respect the Past-Believe in the Future (Cairns)
  • 2007: 50 Years: Looking Forward, Looking Back (Darwin)
  • 2008: Advance Australia Fair? (Canberra)
  • 2009: Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth (Brisbane)
  • 2010: Unsung Heroes – Closing the Gap by Leading Their Way (Melbourne)
  • 2011: Change: the next step is ours (Sydney)
  • 2012: Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on (Hobart)
  • 2013: We value the vision: Yirrkala Bark Petitions 1963 (Perth)
  • 2014: Serving Country: Centenary & Beyond (Gold Coast)
  • 2015: We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate (Adelaide)
  • 2016: Songlines: The living narrative of our nation ( Darwin)

Photo by Butupa Licence CC 2.0NAIDOC Week


During the NAIDOC Week, awards are given which recognizes the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. During the NAIDOC week each year, communities across the length and breadth of Australia celebrate the local community achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This week awards the indigenous people at the local and the national level. To those, making a significant contribution to their community, the local councils recognize the efforts of such people and awards them. Similar to this, a National NAIDOC week awards ceremony is conducted, which felicitates the inspirational indigenous heroes at the national level. The categories for these awards include:

  • Person of the year
  • Youth of the year
  • Artist of the year
  • Elder of the year
  • Apprentice of the year
  • Caring for Country award.
  • Sportsperson of the year
  • Scholar of the year

The NAIDOC Week celebrations are not just restricted to the awards ceremony and the celebrations. This week also organizes a poster completion at the national level, where, the indigenous people are invited to showcase their talents and their works of art, based on the national NAIDOC theme, to the entire of nation, with the winner having their work reproduced on the NAIDOC Week poster. The NAIDOC week for 2016 is to be celebrated from 03-10 July and is expected to be at par with that held in 2015.

Also see for further reading on more awesome upcoming celebrations of Aboriginal festivals, cultural and artistic events

Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival


Garma Festival 

Desert Mob

Melbourne Indigenous Art Festival


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