From around 40,000 BC the continuing culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples flourishes across the country.
1788 The First Fleet lands on Australian shores, and Captain Phillip raises the Union Jack as a symbol of British occupation.
1818 26 January is first recognised as a public holiday in NSW to mark the 30th anniversary of British settlement.
1938 Re-enactments of the First Fleet landing are held in Sydney, including the removal of a group of Aboriginal people. This practice of re-enactment continued until 1988, when the NSW government demanded it stop.
1938 Aboriginal activists hold a ‘Day of Mourning’ aimed at securing national citizenship and equal status for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
1968 Lionel Rose becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to be named Australian of the Year. At the time he noted, “One hundred and eighty-two years ago one of my mob would have been a dead cert for this.”
1972 The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is established on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra, in reaction to Prime Minister William McMahon’s Aboriginal policy.
1988 The Aboriginal community stage a massive march for Freedom, Justice and Hope in Sydney, followed by the Bondi pavilion concert that preceded the Survival Day Concerts. 1988 was named a “Year of Mourning” for Aboriginal people, and also regarded as a celebration of survival.
1992 The first Survival Day concert is held in Sydney.
2000 Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, a member of the Yunkunytjatjara peoples of Central Australia, delivers the annual Australia Day address and calls for a conversation on changing the date of Australia Day.
2014 Townsville Council will for the first time officially celebrate both Survival Day (on 24 January) and Australia Day (on 26 January).
Some quick statistics
15,000 Australians attended the Freedom, Justice and Hope march in 1988 to celebrate the survival of Aboriginal people and culture.
Around 16,000 people attend the Yabun festival—the single largest Indigenous festival in Australia, and one of the most important music events in the country—in Sydney to mark 26 January each year.
8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been awarded Australian of the Year since the award began in 1960.
In 2014, there are 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander state and territory finalists for the Australian of the Year Awards.