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Reconciliation Day in Australia

Reconciliation Day is a public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). First observed in 2018, it celebrates Aboriginal Australian culture and promotes cultural exchange and understanding.

Aboriginal Australians at the Homeground Indigenous Festival in Sydney.

©iStockphoto.com/PomInOz

Is Reconciliation Day a Public Holiday?

Yes, Reconciliation Day is a public holiday in the Australian Capital Territory. It is not a public holiday in the rest of Australia.

How Is Reconciliation Day Celebrated in Australia?

From 2018 onwards, Reconciliation Day in the Australian Capital Territory marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week, a 7-day nationwide observance which was first observed in 1996. In the words of Reconciliation Australia, the group that organizes the Reconciliation Week, it “aims to give people across Australia the opportunity to focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.”

Each year, the week is dedicated to a different theme. Past themes included “Let's talk recognition!” (2011), “Reconciliation: Keeping the Flame Alive” (2001), and “Communities Working Together” (1998).

History of Reconciliation Day in Australia

The date of Reconciliation Day has some significance for Australia: on July 27, 1967, more than 90% of Australians voted in a referendum to remove clauses from the country's constitution which discriminated against Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Among them was a provision denying Aboriginal Australians citizenship status because they were not to be counted in the census.

The late 1950s saw a rise in civil rights activism by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to end this injustice and work towards reconciliation between the country's ethnic groups. The outcome of the 1967 referendum constituted a resounding victory for civil rights in Australia—an event now celebrated each year on Reconciliation Day in the Australian Capital Territory and during National Reconciliation Week all around Australia.

Reconciliation Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2018MonMay 28Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2019MonMay 27Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2020MonJun 1Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2021MonMay 31Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2022MonMay 30Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2023MonMay 29Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2024MonMay 27Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory
2025MonJun 2Reconciliation DayState HolidayAustralian Capital Territory

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