BlackWords Historical Events Calendar
Significant Dates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
(Status : Public)
Coordinated by BlackWords Team
  • 2016 -


    Aboriginal languages programmes become a new subject in schools.

    Apple Store and Google Play remove the online game Survival Island 3- Australia Story 3D which told players to “beware of Aborigines” and had them bludgeon Aboriginal people to death to progress through the game.

    Jane Harrison’s novel Becoming Kirrali Lewis is highly commended at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

    This year marks the 50th anniversary of when Australia changed its currency from pounds to the new decimal currency on the 14 February 1966.

    The 30th Anniversary celebrations of the handback of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park unfolds in Mutitjulu in October.

    The Reserve Bank of Australia revealed the design of the new $5 notes which will be issued on 1 September this year.

    Australia's most prominent First Nations broadcaster, Tiga Bayles passed away on the 17 April after a long battle with cancer.

    Singer, composer, actor and senior collaborator with Bangarra Dance Theatre, David Page died unexpectedly on 29 April.

    Winners of the 2016 NAIDOC Awards - Chris Sarra - Person of the Year; MaryAnn Bin-Sallik - Female Elder of the Year. The first Aboriginal nurse graduate; Dr Robert Francis Isaacs (WA) - Male Elder of the Year; Chris Sarra - Person of the Year. who dedicated his award to Aboriginal students in remote communities; Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu recognised as Artist of the Year; Elijah Douglas - Youth of the Year; Stephen Page - Lifetime Achievement Award, for his work as Director of Bangarra Dance Theatre; Jade North - Sportsperson of the Year; Montana Ah-Won - Apprentice of the Year; Layneisha Sgro - Scholar of the Year, and; Manymak Energy Efficiency Project - Caring for Country Award.

    Artist Harold Thomas wins Australia's most prestigious Indigenous art prize the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award for his painting Tribal Abductions.

    Playwright Ursula Yovich wins the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright's Award to develop a stage play exploring Indigenous funeral ceremonies and her own Indigenous identity.

    Gurrumul Yunupingu wins the Indigenous Music Award for Artist of the Year for the fifth time.

    Dr Libby Connors wins the Australian Historical Association's 2016 Magarey Medal for Warrior: A Legendary Leader's Dramatic Life and Violent Death on the Colonial Frontier.

    Bruce Pascoe, wins award for Outstanding Contribution to Hospitality at the Gourmet Traveller National Restaurant Awards, 2016.

    Fifty anniversary of the Wave Hill Walk-Off, led by Vincent Lingiari on 23 August 1966, 200 Aboriginal stockmen of the Gurindji people and their families walked off the Wave Hill pastoral station, Northern Territory, owned by British aristocrat Lord Vestey. the walk-off had eventuated into a land claim, it was the first claim for traditional Aboriginal land in Australia.

    Tony Birch wins the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing for his novel Ghost River.

    Fiction writer and Poet Paul Collis wins the Unpublished Indigenous Writer - David Unaipon Award for his work Dancing Home. And, Lesley and Tammy Williams win the Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance for their work Not Just Black and White. Presented on the 5 October, 2016.

    Australian Archaeologist, Emeritus Professor Derek John Mulvaney AO CMG FAHA , also known as the "Father of Australian Archaeology" died 22 September 2016. Mulvaney was also a foundation member of the AIATSIS Council.


    Tracey Moffat will be a representative of Australia at the 57th Venice Biennale, making her the first Aboriginal artist to present a solo exhibition at the event.