The Day of Mourning protest in 1938 was one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world.

By Troy Brown

On the first Sunday of July, NAIDOC week begins.

So, what is NAIDOC and why do we have it?

NAIDOC week is a national observance lasting from the first Sunday of July to the following Sunday, recognising and celebrating the profound history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The acronym NAIDOC stands for NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

(According to the official NAIDOC website: “The National NAIDOC Committee respectfully acknowledges the now defunct and inaccurate term ‘Aborigines’, whilst retaining the term in our title due to historic use by our Elders in establishing this week of commemoration in 1938. As at 1967 the ongoing registered title of the Committee became the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee.”) 

What’s the history of NAIDOC?

NAIDOC has roots from all the way back to 1938, originally as a day of protest and activism. On Australia Day, 1938, protestors marched through the streets of Sydney, followed by a congress attended by over a thousand people.

It was one of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world, and was known back then as the Day of Mourning.

From 1955 the day changed from the first Sunday before Australia Day to the first Sunday of July, after it was decided the day should become not simply a protest day but also a day that celebrates our unique culture.

In 1975, NAIDOC became a week-long event.

NAIDOC has a theme every year. This year’s NAIDOC theme is “For Our Elders.”

We celebrate and thank our Elders because it is them that has gone through struggles and hardship to get where we are now.

Our Elders are our leaders, teachers, wisdom holders, survivors and our loved ones.

We thank the Elders for all they did, are doing, and are going to do.

There’s more info about NAIDOC Week celebrations in our community at

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