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  1. Treaty

    The use of the term "treaty" ignites much public interest, and Mr Hawke remarks, "It's not the word that's important, its the attitudes of the peoples, attitudes of the non-Aboriginal Australians and of the Aboriginal Australians if there is a sense of reconciliation... whether you say there's a treaty or a compact is not important, but it is important that we do it."

  2. Arts Stamps

    Australia Post issues four stamps celebrating the Art of the Desert. All paintings selected for this issue depict an event in the Dreaming: Bush Potato Country (Turkey Tolsen Tjupurrula & David Corby Tjapaltjarri, 37c), Courtship Rejected (Limpi Puntungka Tjapangati, 55c), Medicine Story (unknown artist, 90c) and Ancestor Dreaming (Tim Leura Tjapaltjarri, $1).

    Four stamps showing paintings of desert art.
    The issue features four stamps from the Flinders University Art Museum that depict an event in the Dreaming.


  1. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) is established as main Commonwealth agency in Indigenous affairs.

  2. The government introduces the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy, the first policy of its kind to explicitly address the educational differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples.


  1. Royal College of Surgeons, Dublin, Ireland gives back the head of the great-great grandfather of Tasmanian lawyer Michael Mansell after he went to Dublin petitioning for the return of Aboriginal remains including the one of his family .

  2. Bob Hawke's Labor government establishes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989. It allows elected regional councils and a board of commissioners to make decisions on policy and funding.

  3. Founding of the Aboriginal Provisional Government (APG) which sees Aboriginal people as a sovereign people and campaigns for Aboriginal self-determination and self-government, rejects assimilation into the Australian state, and maintains that Aboriginal people have the right to decide the future of their lands and lives to the exclusion of colonial interference.


  1. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation is set up, funded by the federal government, with cross-party support. The parliament noted that there had not been a formal process of reconciliation to date, “and that it was most desirable that there be such a reconciliation” by 2001.

  2. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody presents its ‘Report and Recommendations’ to the federal government. It finds that of the 99 deaths it investigated, 43 were of people who were separated from their families as children.

  3. Legislation providing for land rights in Queensland is passed - the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and the Torres Strait Land Act 1991. The laws are greatly inferior to the standard set by the Northern Territory legislation.

  4. The Upper House in Tasmania rejects land rights legislation for Aboriginal people.

  5. Treaty Reconciliation

    Support for a treaty is not unanimous, but wide political support continues for reconciliation. Through 1990 and 1991, cross-party support develops for a formal process of reconciliation to be led by a council of prominent Australians, and the government establishes the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation on 2 September 1991.


  1. Torres Strait Islander flag designed.

  2. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs invokes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Act to protect women’s sites near Alice Springs, threatened by a dam proposed by the Northern Territory government.

  3. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation issues its Strategic Plan for the next three years.

  4. Mandawuy Yunupingu, leader of the Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  5. The High Court of Australia hands down its landmark decision in Mabo v Queensland (Mabo case, Mabo decision). It rules that native title exists over particular kinds of lands - unalienated Crown lands, national parks and reserves - and that Australia was never terra nullius or empty land.

  6. Maurice Rioli (Australian Labor Party), from Melville Island is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Arafura.

  7. The remains of Mungo Lady return from the the Australian National University to a temporary keeping place at Lake Mungo in south-western New South Wales, the land of the to the Paakantji, Mathi Mathi and Ngiyampaa people. The remains are said to be the oldest human remains to be found anywhere in the world that had been ritually cremated.

  8. Arts Protest

    The first Survival Day concert is held in Sydney.


View article sources (2)

[1] 'Quest for the missing dead', The Guardian, 24/2/1990, ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dingonet/questfor.htm (25/12/2008)
[2] 'Return of Muno Lady', Alice Kelly, in: Nelen Yubu, Issue 51/153 p.10 (Missionaries of the Sacred Heart), available at misacor.org.au/item/52-nelen-yubu-missiological-journal

Cite this page

Korff, J 2024, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=23>, retrieved 25 July 2024

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