The History of NAIDOC Week

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

By Inara Hossain



Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know what exactly NAIDOC week is, here's a brief overview. NAIDOC week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) is about celebrating our First Peoples and their culture. It takes place on the first full week of July each year with a new theme to accompany it.

Now into the history of NAIDOC Week, the purpose of this article. NAIDOC week goes back to the Aboriginal rights movement in 1938, Australia Day where people marched through Sydney streets protesting about how the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders were treated unfairly, and inhumanely.


This was an identifiable large movement and was one of the first big civil rights gatherings in the whole world. This day was known as “Day of Mourning”. From 1940-1955 the Day of Mourning was held each year on the Sunday before Australia Day. also known as “Aborigines Day”. In 1955 it was finally decided that this day should be a celebration of the First Peoples culture, heritage and achievements and that is how NAIDOC week came to be.


As I mentioned before each year had a theme or statement which articulated NAIDOC week’s aims for the year. Here are all the themes from 1900-2019





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