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  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 8 September

    Centrelink begins distributing the BasicsCard in the Northern Territory.

  4. 24 September

    The Greens introduce the Stolen Generations Reparations Tribunal Bill. This bill seeks to implement 'reparations', a key recommendation of the Bringing Them Home report.

    Reparation is much more than monetary compensation and includes "measures such as funding for healing centres, community education projects, community genealogy projects, and funding for access to counselling services, health services, language and culture training for the Stolen Generations." [1]

    Just reparations are essential to repairing the enduring social, economic and cultural harm experienced by the Stolen Generations. — Rachel Siewert, Greens Senator [1]

  5. 13 October

    The Northern Territory Emergency Response Review Board provides independent review of the first 12 months of the NT Intervention to the Australian government.

  6. 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.

  7. November

    Charite Medical History Museum, Berlin, Germany. The museum's director announces his intent to return the skulls of 18 Aboriginal Australians taken to Germany more than 100 years ago. The Charite would be the first scientific institution in Germany to return remains.

  8. 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.

  9. December

    The Aborigines Welfare Fund worth $10.8 million is absorbed into a new Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education foundation, which the government says will supply about 100 scholarships a year worth $20,000 each to young Aboriginal people.

    Also to be absorbed into the foundation will be about $15 million unclaimed from the $55.4 million stolen wages reparations fund set up by the Beattie government in 2002 [2].

  10. December

    University of Oxford, Britain agrees to hand over the remains of three Aboriginal people. The three human skulls and lower jaws - acquired in the 1860s and held in its museum of natural history - belong to the Ngarrindjeri people from Goolwa (Port Elliot) in South Australia [3].

    It seemed so utterly unreasonable that the British Museum needed – actually needed – 1570 sets of remains from Aboriginal men, women and children. — John Danalis in his book 'Riding the Black Cockatoo'

  11. 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.


  1. The National Archives Australia announce that they plan to close their Darwin office in September 2010, followed by Adelaide in 2011, and two Hobart offices in 2010/2012 due to huge savings requirements. Aboriginal people are shocked because offices are well used by services such as Link-Up to help people find and reconnect with their families.

  2. 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.

  3. Boxer Anthony Mundine claims his third world boxing title.

  4. 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

  5. Italy and Australia sign a repatriation agreement.

  6. January

    Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton, Britain promises to repatriate two skulls and two thigh bones, donated almost 100 years ago [4]. The museum also holds a Ngarrindjeri skull which has been turned into a water carrier and is considered 'extremely rare' [5]. The skull is with the museum since 1925 when it was donated by a local collector. 

    Brighton's Booth Museum of Natural History
    Booth Museum of Natural History, Brighton. Even small museums hold Aboriginal remains which were often donated by private collectors.
  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.


View article sources (5)

[1] [1a] 'Stolen Gen Bill gains support', Koori Mail 436 p.35
[2] 'State Government's dodgy deal', Courier-Mail, 30/11/2008
[3] 'Oxford Uni to return Aboriginal remains', LiveNews, 17/12/2008, livenews.com.au/articles/2008/12/17/Oxford_Uni_to_return_Aboriginal_remains
[4] 'Coming home', Koori Mail 442 p.14
[5] 'Government urges Aboriginal skull return', Koori Mail 445 p.19

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=31>, retrieved 24 May 2019

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