AustLit logo
BlackWords Historical Events Calendar
Significant Dates for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
(Status : Subscribers Only)
Coordinated by BlackWords Team
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
  • Top left: Eddie Mabo. Top Right: David Unaipon. Bottom: Vincent Lingiari and Gough Whitlam 1975.
  • About the BlackWords Calendar of Events


    The BlackWords team maintains this calendar of significant events in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history since the arrival of European culture in Australia.

    The Calendar was first compiled by Professor Anita Heiss in 2007 and has been updated periodically since then.

    Aboriginal people have been living on and caring for the land now known as ‘Australia’ for approximately 60,000 years retaining an unbroken connections to county from then to the present. An excellent history of colonisation is SBS TV's 2008 documentary, First Australians, which can be streamed online here. See the BlackWords record here.

    The Calendar records many of the significant historical events, achievements, tragedies, key figures of resistance, and the various impacts of colonisation across this land's modern history.

    The links within the chronology take readers to BlackWords and AustLit records that have further information on the subjects. Suggested search terms and keywords have been supplied, as have links to individuals with records in the database. Some of the links take you to the advanced search form which has been populated with relevant content. Hit 'Search' to find the latest search results.

    Please contact us to contribute to, or comment on, the timeline.

  • Sources

    A variety of sources have been consulted in the compilation of this calendar of events, including monitoring of awards and publications in the ongoing work of AustLit and BlackWords. In addition, the following texts have been used:

    The Guardian ( especially

    McKenna, Mark Moment of Truth: History and Australia's Future Quarterly Essay 69, 2018. 

You might be interested in...