In summary

  • Swinburne held events across our three campuses to mark National Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week

  • Swinburne embraces the National Reconciliation Week 2024 theme, “Now More Than Ever”, and strives to advance reconciliation and uphold the rights of First Nations peoples

  • Swinburne is committed to ensuring Indigenous heritage, knowledge and cultures are recognised by our community, and embedded into our work

National Reconciliation Week

National Reconciliation week is a time to acknowledge the mistreatment and injustices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and explore what we can do as individuals, and across the community, to contribute towards a respectful and united Australia. 

May 27 marks the beginning of National Reconciliation Week and commemorates the 1967 referendum, which amended the constitution to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the national census. June 3 celebrates Mabo Day, honouring the 1992 High Court decision that recognised native land titles for Indigenous Australians.

This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme is Now More Than Ever. It is a powerful reminder that the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must continue. 

Swinburne has a strong and rich history of celebrating, acknowledging, and progressing reconciliation. Our commitment to the reconciliation process and to strengthening understanding of Indigenous issues is embedded across our organisation. 

Pro Vice-Chancellor of Indigenous Engagement, and proud Wiradjuri man, Professor John Evans reflected, “at Swinburne, we recognise that reconciliation is not just a week-long observance but a continuous effort. It’s about celebrating achievements, addressing challenges, and educating our community.”

Symbolic Sea of Hands installation at the Hawthorn Indigenous Learning Circle.

National Sorry Day Service 

The Moondani Toombadool Centre commemorated National Sorry Day with a poignant service at the Indigenous Learning Circle on our Hawthorn Campus. Held on May 26, National Sorry Day honours the strength of Stolen Generations survivors and reflects on our collective role in the healing process.

The service began with a Traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, led by Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Colin Hunter Jnr. Attendees then took part in the symbolic Sea of Hands installation, placing colourful hands in the Learning Circle. This act, inspired by Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR), serves as a powerful act of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identity, culture and history.

Following the ceremony, attendees enjoyed a morning tea and had the unique opportunity to craft a possum skin cloak under the guidance of First Nations artist Michelle Searle. These cloaks, traditionally burned to map the owner's identity, carry stories of clan and Country, enriching the day’s reflections on culture and heritage. 

Possum skin cloak burning activity led by First Nations artist Michelle Searle.

National Reconciliation Week Events

During Reconciliation Week, students, staff, and community members gathered at our Croydon and Wantirna campuses to reflect on the vital importance of reconciliation. These events provided an opportunity to learn about our shared histories, celebrate cultures and achievements, amplify First Nations voices, and explore how each of us can contribute to reconciliation.

Participants enjoyed a morning tea together and also took part in crafting a possum skin cloak, a powerful symbol of tradition, culture, and resilience.

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