Australia has two distinct Indigenous peoples: Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Aboriginal peoples are the oldest living culture on earth and comprise some 250 separate language groups, with their own law, knowledge and belief systems, often collectively referred to as the Dreaming. The Dreaming is an English word that is often misinterpreted to indicate that Aboriginal belief systems are not real, but imagined and therefore many Aboriginal groups or ‘nations’ prefer to use their own particular language name for the Dreaming and the stories, song, dance and ceremonies within it.

Aboriginal people see themselves as part of the natural or physical world, and this everyday realm is also interconnected to and continuous with the spiritual world; past, present and future all exist in the same time and space. For Aboriginal people the land is our mother, everything is alive and everything is related, law is not man made but given to us and we have responsibility to uphold this, care for each other and the earth. Aboriginal peoples talk about spirituality rather than religion.

Spirituality is expressed differently between Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders. Torres Strait Islanders' spirituality comes from stories of the ‘Tagai’. Torres Strait Islander communities celebrate the Coming of the Light Festival (1 July) which is a religious celebration.

While Indigenous spirituality cannot be translated into a calendar per se, significant dates for Indigenous Australians are listed.

Information about Indigenous Australians can be found at the Department of Indigenous Affairs.

Key dates for Indigenous Australians

  • Jan 26
    Survival Day/Invasion Day
  • Feb 13
    National Apology day
  • Mar 21
    Harmony Day
  • May 26
    National Sorry Day
  • May 27– Jun 3
    National Reconciliation Week
  • Jun 3
    Mabo Day
  • Jul 1
    Coming of the Light
  • Jul 6 – Jul 13
    NAIDOC Week
  • Aug 4
    National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day
  • Aug 9
    International Day of the World's Indigenous People