A brief history of NAIDOC

Rock NAIDOC March.

From 1940 until 1955, the Day of Mourning was held annually on the Sunday before Australia Day and was known as Aborigines Day.

In 1955 Aborigines Day was shifted to the first Sunday in July after it was decided the day should become not only a protest day but also a celebration of Aboriginal culture.

Between 1956 and 1990, major Aboriginal organisations and state and federal governments supported the formation of NADOC, the National Aborigines Day Observance Committee.

At the same time, the second Sunday in July became a day of remembrance for Aboriginal people and their heritage.

In 1972, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was formed as a major outcome of the 1967 referendum.

In 1974, the NADOC committee was composed entirely of Aboriginal members for the first time.

The following year, the event was decided to cover a week, from the first to the second Sunday in July.

In 1984, NADOC asked that National Aborigines Day be made a national public holiday to help celebrate and recognise the rich cultural history that makes Australia unique.

From 1991, with a growing awareness of the distinct cultural histories of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, NADOC was expanded to recognise Torres Strait Island people.

The committee became known as the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee, NAIDOC.

This new name has become the title for the whole week, not just the day.

Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect the important issues and events for NAIDOC.

In present time both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people are welcome to come together to celebrate as one community.

For more information on this years celebrations see the calendar on page 24.