History

Aboriginal history timeline (2000 - 2010)

Explore a timeline of historic Aboriginal events from 2000 to 2010.

Close this

Wishing you knew more about Aboriginal culture? Search no more.

Get key foundational knowledge about Aboriginal culture in a fun and engaging way.

This is no ordinary resource: It includes a fictional story, quizzes, crosswords and even a treasure hunt.

Stop feeling bad about not knowing. Make it fun to know better.

Sold! Show me how No, thank you

In the past, Indigenous history has been written by non-Indigenous people from a non-Indigenous perspective.—Pat Dudgeon, Bardi woman, former head of the Aboriginal Studies Centre, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia [3]

Early 2000s

  1. 2000
     

    March: Australia appears before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The committee criticises the government’s inadequate response to recommendations from the Bringing Them Home Report.

    27 May - 3 June: Corroboree 2000 is held at Sydney Opera House to mark 10 years of work on reconciliation. Here, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation presents to the nation Corroboree 2000 - Towards Reconciliation which includes the documents ‘Australian Declaration towards Reconciliation’ and ‘Roadmap for Reconciliation’. The roadmap outlines four national strategies to advance reconciliation.

    28 May: More than 300,000 take part in the People’s Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

    Stamp commemorating Cathy Freeman's win over 400m. 2000: First stamp of Australia showing a living Aboriginal person. Until 1997 no living person (Royal family excluded) was featured on Australia’s stamps. Athlete Cathy Freeman is the only Aboriginal person who has been individually honoured on a stamp in such a way.

    Cathy Freeman wins gold in the women’s 400m at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The opening and closing ceremonies celebrated Indigenous cultural identity and history and provided some deft political comment on contemporary Aboriginal issues.

    An Aboriginal Tent Embassy is set up in Sydney during the Olympic period to attract world media attention to Australian Indigenous issues.

    The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation ceases to operate by the end of 2000. It is to be replaced by a new national body, Reconciliation Australia, in 2001.

  2. 2001
     

    The Northern Territory overturns its mandatory sentencing laws.

    Stamp commemorating Yothu Yindi's song 'Treaty'. 2001: A stamp commemorating the 10th anniversary of Yothu Yindi’s song ‘Treaty’.

    The Yeperenye Federation Festival outside Alice Springs becomes the largest corroboree ever staged in Australia, involving more than 25,000 people of 40 Indigenous nations. The programme is a celebration revolving around the theme of the Yeperenye (Caterpillar) Dreaming story and federation as seen from an Aboriginal perspective.

    Aden Ridgeway is the first Aboriginal person to be elected as a parliamentary leader when he holds the position of Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats from 2001 to 2002.

    Carol Martin (Australian Labor Party), becomes the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the parliament of an Australian state when she wins the seat of Kimberley in the Parliament of Western Australia.

     

  3. 2002
     

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Dr William Jonas, presents the Social Justice Report 2001 and Native Title Report 2001 to the federal parliament. In the report he questions: What happened to reconciliation? Both reports express serious concerns about the nation’s progress in recognisising Aboriginal rights.

    The Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee commences an inquiry into the Progress Towards National Reconciliation and is due to report by September 2003.

    The first member of the Stolen Generations is awarded compensation in the NSW Victims Compensation Tribunal for the sexual assault and injuries she suffered after authorities removed her from her family.

  4. 2004
     

    The government starts using Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRAs), voluntary written agreements, which set out outcomes to be achieved and the agreed roles and responsibilities of governments and Aboriginal communities in relation to particular projects or activities.

    The Commonwealth government establishes a memorial to the Stolen Generations at Reconciliation Place in Canberra.

    November: Mulrunji Doomadgee dies in a police watch house on Palm Island, 70 km north of Townsville in north Queensland. His death sparks violent riots during which the police station and officers’ quarters are burnt down. Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley is found guilty of causing Mulrunji’s death, but in late 2006 Queensland’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Leanne Clare, opts not to prosecute him. In February 2007 the Premier Peter Beattie orders a judicial review of the case and Hurley is charged with manslaughter, the first time ever in Queensland
    that a police officer is charged over the death of an Aboriginal person. In June 2007 an all-white jury finds him not guilty. Hurley returns to work after having been suspended on full pay. An Aboriginal man, Lex Wotton, was found guilty on 24 October 2008 of “rioting with destruction” and sentenced to six years in prison.

    The National Indigenous Council is appointed to be an advisory body to the Australian government, chaired by Dr Sue Gordon, a Western Australian Magistrate. It winds up in early 2008.

    21 November: Casey Donovan, at just 16 years of age, becomes the youngest and first female winner of Australian Idol. She releases Listen to Your Heart a few days later.

    Michael Long, a former Australian Rules footballer of partial Aboriginal decent, sets out on foot from Melbourne to Canberra to speak to Prime Minister John Howard and raise awareness of the plight of Aboriginal Australians. His walk becomes known as The Long Walk.

  5. 2005
     

    The organisation ‘Stolen Generations Victoria’ is set up as a result of the 2003 report of the Stolen Generations taskforce. Its purpose is to establish a range of support and referral services that will assist Stolen Generations people to reconnect with their families, communities, cultures and lands.

    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) is dismantled by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Act 2005 and replaced by a Commonwealth government-appointed advisory board.

    The first official Sorry Day ceremony outside Australia is hosted in Lincoln Fields, London, on 25 May 2005.

  6. 2006
     

    17 May: Boxer Danny Green loses to Aboriginal man Anthony Mundine by points decision over 12 rounds. The fight remains one of the most watched bouts in Australian boxing history.

    31 May: Victoria is the first state to formally recognise the sacrifice and service of Aboriginal servicemen during the inaugural Honouring Victorian Indigenous Returned Service Men and Women Shrine of Rememberance Service. The service is held each year since.

    19 September: A federal court ruling grants one of the nation’s largest native title claims to Perth and its surrounds (three times the size of Tasmania) to the Noongar Aboriginal people. The West Australian government instantly appeals the ruling.

    October: The first Stolen Generations compensation scheme in Australia is set up in Tasmania by the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal Children Act 2006 (Tas).

    26 November: Jessica Mauboy comes second in the finale of the 4th season of Australian Idol, starting her singing career.

  1. 2007
     

    Intervention & punishment

    15 June: Pat Anderson and Rex Wild release the Little Children are Sacred report which reports ‘widespread sex abuse’ of children throughout communities of the Northern Territory. The report makes 97 recommendations.

    21 June: Prime Minister John Howard and Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough announce the Northern Territory intervention. Staged as a response to the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report, the intervention is widely criticised because it also legislates to remove the permit system for access to Aboriginal land, abolish the Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP), quarantine 50% of welfare payments, compulsorily acquire Aboriginal land and subject Aboriginal children to mandatory health checks.
    While the intervention receives bipartisan political support, many opponents label it an ‘invasion’ and promise a ‘Little Children are Scared’ report (a wordplay on the Report’s title).

    1 July: The Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act comes into effect, aiming to strengthen governance and management of Aboriginal corporations with consistent practices and standards.

    13 July: National Indigenous Television (NITV), Australia’s first national 24-hour Aboriginal television service, starts.

    24 July: Clifford Possum Tjapaltjarra’s painting Warlugulong breaks all sales records for Aboriginal paintings when it is sold at an auction for $2.4 million.

    1 August: Bruce Trevorrow is the first person to receive Stolen Generations compensation by a court. A court awards him $525,000 for ‘pain, suffering and false imprisonment’ [1].

    30 August: The High Court rejects legislation passed by the Howard government which denied all prisoners the right to vote. This law was challenged by Vickie Roach, an Aboriginal prisoner in Melbourne. But the Court upheld the validity of the law providing that prisoners serving a sentence of three years or longer are not
    entitled to vote.

    13 September: 143 member states adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Along with Canada, New Zealand and the United States, Australia is one of four nations to vote against the declaration, while 11 nations abstain. After 20 years of negotiations, the declaration establishes a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of indigenous peoples. It is the most comprehensive international instrument on indigenous peoples’ collective rights, including the rights to self-determination, traditional lands, territories and resources, education, culture, health and development.

    14 September: The National Aboriginal Alliance (NAA) forms in Alice Springs as a response to the intervention of the government in the Northern Territory. It describes itself as completely independent of government and committed to Aboriginal people’s right to self-determination [2].

    24 November: John Howard loses the federal election in a landslide (‘Ruddslide’) defeat against the Australian Labor Party’s candidate Kevin Rudd. Rudd promises to say sorry to the Stolen Generations and to consult with Aboriginal people.

    Marion Scrymgour becomes the first Aboriginal person to lead a state or territory government when she becomes Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.

  2. 2008
     

    January: Ngaanyatjarra Elder Mr Ward dies in the back of a prison van because the two officers failed to give him water and offer him breaks while driving 320km through 42-degree heat in Western Australia. Deaths in custody

    12 February: For the first time in government history Aboriginal people perform a Welcome to Country as the federal parliament opens after the break.

    13 February: The Australian Parliament apologises to the Stolen Generations. Both the government and the opposition support the apology and say ‘sorry’ to Aboriginal people who were taken away from their families from 1900 to the 1970s.

    1 May: South Australia creates the SA Aboriginal Advisory Council (SAAAC) which advises the government on programmes and policies on Aboriginal people. The council is meant to fill the void left by the abolished ATSIC.

    20 May: Patrick Dodson is the second Australian to receive Australia’s only international peace prize, the Sydney 2008 Peace Prize.

    June: Aboriginal people in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) vote for Australia’s first elected Aboriginal representative body since ATSIC’s demise in 2005. Seven representatives will be elected every three years to advise the ACT government on policy that affects the lives of the ACT’s Aboriginal population.

    27 June: Nathan Jawai is the first Aboriginal Australian basketball player to be drafted into North America’s National Basketball Association (NBA), playing for the Toronto Raptors.

    3 July: 400 Aboriginal men take part in an Aboriginal male health summit and issue the Inteyerrkwe Statement, an apology from men to women for violence and abuse.

    31 July: The High Court hands down its Blue Mud Bay decision which says that the Northern Territory government could not grant commercial fishing operators licenses for areas within the boundaries of the Aboriginal Land Rights (NT) Act. This affects 80% of the NT’s coast and tidal rivers where revenues of licenses flow now to Aboriginal people instead of the white government.

    August: The Canberra suburb of Bonner names public places and roads after prominent Aboriginal leaders and their supporters. The suburb itself was named after Neville Bonner, the first Aboriginal person to sit in federal parliament as a Senator for Queensland from 1971 to 1983.

    1 September: In his swearing-in speech, High Court Chief Justice Robert French acknowledges the Ngunnawal people present as the ‘traditional people’ of the area and pays tribute to Aboriginal culture and history. It is believed to be the first time such comments came from Australia’s highest legal seat.

    September: ‘Wunubi Spring’, a painting by Freddie Timms, an artist from the Warmun community in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, becomes the world’s first chemically protected Indigenous artwork. Intended to prevent fraudulent sale, a mixture of chemicals is added to the artist’s paint and cannot be entirely removed from a painting.

    28 October: The Devils Marbles (Karlu Karlu) site in the Northern Territory is handed back to traditional owners after a 28-year native title battle. Its owners consider Karlu Karlu as one of the most significant sacred sites.

    29 November: Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting where state and federal heads announce they will contribute $806 million (federal) and $772 million (all states) into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health over the next four years, the biggest single injection of Indigenous health spending in decades.

    13 December: The Queensland government announces a new Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council. The council should provide a direct link between Indigenous people and the government. The 14 members are appointed for a two-year period.

  3. 2009
     

    1 January: The NT government rules that the first four hours of education in all NT schools will be delivered in English, putting an end to 34 years of bilingual education in the Northern Territory by ending the nine remaining bilingual programs.

    9 January: The Western Australian government announces the formation of the Indigenous Implementation Board to improve social and economic outcomes for Aboriginals. The nine-member board aims to ‘enhance Indigenous involvement in local decision-making and strengthen corporate and non-government contribution to Indigenous affairs’. Members are chosen for their expertise, not as representatives.

    26 January: Aboriginal law professor Mick Dodson receives the 2009 Australian of the Year award for his lifetime commitment to improving the lives of Aboriginal people and helping to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

    30 January: The Northern Territory government and traditional owners settle one of the longest native title claims over the Cox Peninsula, about 30 kms west of Darwin. 80% of the area will be designated Aboriginal land for the Larrakia people.

    February: Reconciliation Australia releases the Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a first-ever study on how Aboriginal and other Australians see and feel about each other.

    30 March: The Federal Court makes the largest native title determination in South Australia’s history when it regognises rights of the Adnyamathanha people to land in and around the Flinders Ranges.

    3 April: Australia supports the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). After 20 years of negotiations, the declaration was formally adopted by the UN General Assembly on 13 September 2007 with the support of 143 member states and the opposition of four (Australia, Canada, USA, NZ). The Howard government had rejected the declaration fearing a separate customary law.

    May: The Australian government allocates the largest amount of funding for a single year in the history of federal budgets to Indigenous affairs: A$4.8 billion. The biggest single item with A$106 million is for the Canberra bureaucracy to manage the income of Aboriginal people under the Northern Territory intervention.

    The Football Federation Australia announces a ten-year Indigenous Football Development Program to give soccer a higher profile in the Indigenous community and to lift the percentage of Indigenous players in the sport’s elite level.

    Boxer Anthony Mundine claims his third world boxing title.

    The Northern Territory releases its first-ever policy for homelands and outstations, setting out how the government intends to provide services and infrastructure to assist communities living on Aboriginal-owned lands. Aboriginal homelands

    July: After months of pressure Tangentyere Council reluctantly agrees to hand over Aboriginal community land to the Australian government for 40 years, in return for A$100m to upgrade housing and services in town camps in Alice Springs.

    15 July: When their community’s sewerage system fails and raw sewage floods the street many members of the Ampilatwatja people walk off to camp in the desert during the Australian winter. Aboriginal houses

    27 August: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma outlines the proposed model for a new national Indigenous representative body to fill the void since the demise of ATSIC in 2004. The model enables representation by Indigenous land councils, peak bodies and other Indigenous organisations, as well as a place for leaders operating at all levels. It has a 50/50 gender rule for representatives and an overseeing role of an ethics committee.

    16 November: The Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says sorry to the Forgotten Australians which include migrants and Indigenous people who were victims of abuse in orphanages and institutions between 1930 and 1970. The Forgotten Australians suffered abuse similar to that suffered by members of the Stolen Generations of Aboriginal peoples.

    17 November: Marianne Mackay and Glenn Moore found the Aboriginal Political Party, where every candidate identifies as Aboriginal.

    22 November: The government announces its support of the new representative body for Aboriginal people, called the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples (NCAFP).

    17 December: 50 years after the British military exploded nuclear bombs on their lands without informing them, the South Australian Maralinga Tjarutja people are returned their land. Native Title

  4. 2010
     

    January: The Aboriginal Political Party and the Ecological and Social Justice Party unite to become the Western Australia-based Ecological, Social Justice, Aboriginal Party (ESJA) with its inaugural President Glenn Moore.

    26 January: About 12,000 people attend the inaugural Saltwater Freshwater Festival in Coffs Harbour, reclaiming Australia Day as a positive inclusive day for the Gumbaynggirr community.

    12 February: Indigenous Sport Queensland launches the Queensland Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame.

    13 February: The Indigenous All Stars team plays the National Rugby League All Stars, two years after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Stolen Generations.

    17 February: Singer and actress Ruby Hunter dies of a heart attack aged 54.

    23 February: The Queensland Parliament amends the Constitution of Queensland to include a preamble recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians. The preamble now reads: “The people of Queensland, free and equal citizens of Australia… honour the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Australians, whose lands, winds and waters we all now share; and pay tribute to their unique values, and their ancient and enduring cultures, which deepen and enrich the life of our community…”

    19 March: Australia’s richest man, Andrew Forrest, launches GenerationOne in the presence of the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and celebrities and actors such as Cate Blanchett and Russell Crowe. The campaign aims at convincing Australians to help end Indigenous disadvantage.

    Australia changes with each one of us making a change… Let's change Australia for the better.—Prime Minister Kevid Rudd launching GenerationOne [4]

    20 March: Veteran Aboriginal rights activist, Charles ‘Chicka’ Dixon, dies aged 81. Dixon was active in the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and its campaign for the 1967 national referendum. Dixon was also active in the Aboriginal Tent Embassy movement in the 1970s and a major player in establishing Australia’s first Aboriginal legal and medical services. He received a state funeral on March 31st.

    19 April: New Zealand signs the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, leaving only the USA and Canada rejecting it.

    May: Aboriginal academic Megan Davis becomes the first Aboriginal person appointed to a UN body when the Australian government nominates her for the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

    The left wing Ecological, Social Justice, Aboriginal Party unites with the First Nations Original Peoples Party to form the federally registered First Nations Political Party.

    28 May: Michael Leslie wins the $50,000 Red Ochre Award for lifetime achievement in Indigenous dance.

    Samantha Harris on the Vogue Australia cover, June 2010June: 19-year-old Aboriginal model Samantha Harris makes it to the cover of Vogue Australia’s June issue. Harris got her first break into modelling after entering a competition in the Australian teenage magazine Girlfriend in 2003, aged just 13.

    9 June: The Resale Royalty Right for Visual Artists Act is introduced, entitling all artists to a 5% royalty whenever their work is re-sold. Thousands of Aboriginal artists can benefit from the scheme. Aboriginal art profits

    12 June: Timana Tahu, an Aboriginal player of the Sydney-based Parramatta Eels Rugby League club, walks out of the NSW Origin team camp in response to racist comments by the team’s assistant coach Andrew Johns, sparking a media debate about racism against Aboriginal players and people.

    24 June: Julia Gillard, previously Deputy Prime Minister, becomes the first female Prime Minister of Australia after Kevin Rudd lost the confidence of his party. Rudd served the shortest period of any Prime Minister so far.

    Noongar man Ken Wyatt becomes the first Indigenous Australian in the House of Representatives in the federal parliament when he wins the Perth seat of Hasluck for the Liberal Party.

    27 June: French-born tourist Alizee Sery, 25, outrages Aboriginal and non-Indigenous people by walking to the top of Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock) and performing a strip show which she sees as a ‘tribute’ to Aboriginal people. Threats to Aboriginal land

    29 July: The West Australian government approves $3.2 million, one of the largest ex-gratia (voluntary) payments ever made in Australia to the family of an Aboriginal Elder who died of heatstroke in the back of a prison van in 2008. Aboriginal deaths in custody

    28 August: The UN Committee on the Eliminiation of Racial Discrimination (CERD) delivers a damning report on Australia’s failure to meet international commitments on eliminating discrimination.

    8 September: NSW becames the third Australian state, after Victoria and Queensland, to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in their Constitutional preambles. The Aboriginal flag is also permanently hung in the NSW Parliament.

    We are enshrining today fundamental truths, the truth that Aboriginal people are the first peoples of NSW, the truth of the spiritual, economic and cultural ties that bind Aboriginal people to the land.—Kristina Keneally, Premier of NSW [5]

    30 September: The National Gallery of Australia opens 11 new Indigenous galleries and art spaces that will house the majority of the gallery’s huge collection of Indigenous art, reportedly the largest collection of its kind in the world. Aboriginal arts

    9 October: The opera Pecan Summer premieres telling the story of the Cummeragunja Aboriginal walk-off of 1939. It is the first opera to be partly sung in Yorta Yorta language.

    15 October: The Indigenous Land Corporation (ILC) announces it had purchased the Ayers Rock Resort at Yulara, near Uluru (Ayers Rock). The deal covers all resort hotels, accommodation and infrastructure. The ILC is an independent statutory authority of the Australian government, established to assist Aboriginal people to acquire and manage land to achieve economic, environmental, social and cultural benefits.

    14 November: Poet and author Dr Roberta ‘Bobbi’ Sykes dies aged 67. In the 1980s she became the first Aboriginal Australian to attend Harvard University, gaining a PhD in education, and in 1994 was awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal. Sykes also was the executive secretary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

    25 November: Aboriginal author and lawyer Larissa Behrendt is named NSW Australian of the Year in “recognition of her passionate and articulate advocacy for the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders”.

    7 December: The Salvation Army apologises to survivors of Salvation Army Girls and Boys Homes of Australia, the “forgotten children”. They lived in orphanages and homes until the early 1990s, and many were abused. 40% of them were Aboriginal [6].

    16 December: The USA is the last country to sign up to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Canada joined on November 12, 2010.

More Aboriginal timelines

Footnotes

View article sources (10)

[1] National Indigenous Times 135 p.4
[2] Koori Mail 413 p.6
[3] 'Woman talk leadership', Koori Mail 431 p.17
[4] 'Big names pledge to take action', Koori Mail 472 p.13
[5] 'Changes recognise the First Peoples', Koori Mail 485 p.9
[6] 'Apology by Salvation Army is welcomed, Koori Mail 491 p.8
[7] 'Troy tells of heartbreak', Koori Mail 493 p.10
[8] 'Indigenous empowerment is being able to say no', ABC News 11/10/2013
[9] 'Finally! National Indigenous Human Rights Awards', The Stringer 24/5/2014
[10] 'NACCHO #Aps2016 Australian Psychological Society issues a formal apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People', nacchocommunique.com/2016/09/15/naccho-aps2016-australian-psychological-society-issues-a-formal-apology-to-aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-people, retrieved 21/9/2016

Cite this article

An appropriate citation for this document is:

www.CreativeSpirits.info,
Aboriginal culture - History - Aboriginal history timeline (2000 - 2010), retrieved 10 December 2018