NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.

Each year, there is a different focus city for the National NAIDOC Awards Ceremony. The focus city, National NAIDOC Poster Competition and the NAIDOC Awards recipients are selected by the National NAIDOC Committee.

NAIDOC Week Events

There are many ways you can participate in NAIDOC week 2022, check out the event list below to see what's on.

Sunday 3 July

Free screening of 'ABLAZE'

Where: West Gippsland Art Centre - bookings not required.
When: 3pm

Viewer advice: Contains themes of violence and oppression against Indigenous Australians.

The true story of the first Aboriginal filmmaker William Bill Onus.

Ablaze tells of Bill Onus, a Yorta Yorta and Wiradjuri man from Victoria, a truly heroic cultural and political figure who revived his peopleʼs culture in the 1940s and ignited a civil rights movement that would, against enormous odds, change the course of history.

Through rare archival footage, state-of-the-art animation, vividly created digital motion graphics and eye-witness accounts, Ablaze is the compelling tale – part detective story, part contemporary opera – of how Bill and supporters brilliantly orchestrated their campaign for equality through performance, entertainment, film and sheer audacity outsmarted mighty forces seeking to destroy Indigenous cultures, languages, and communities.

Sunday 3 - Sunday 10 July

Three Women on Kurnai Country Creative Corner

Where: West Gippsland Art Centre
When: All week


Learn more about  a sculpture honouring three women who significantly impacted the lives of the Kurnai people from the Drouin with a creative corner display featuring the Three Women on Kurnai Country maquette (model) that will be recreated in a bronze sculpture by contributing artists Jessie McLennan, Rebecca Vandyk-Hamilton, and Jeannie Haughton in collaboration with Kurnai elder Aunty Cheryl Drayton.

Click here to learn more about the project before visiting the display.

Thursday 7 July 

Free screening of 'Wash my soul in the river's flow'

Where: West Gippsland Art Centre - bookings not required.
When: 6pm

Seventeen years in the making, 'Wash my soul in the river's flow' is a cinematic reinvention of a legendary concert. A celebration of the love, lives and luminous talent of artists Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.

Over two years Ruby and Archie collaborated with Paul Grabowsky and the Australian Art Orchestra to create the seminal 2004 concert Kura Tungar: Songs from the River.

Ruby was born on the banks of the Murray, home to the Ngarrindjeri people for thousands of years. As a child, she was forcibly taken from her family under the government's assimilation policy. Years later she met Archie, another member of the Stolen Generation, at a Salvation Army drop-in centre. The story of their lives, as told through their music and lively yarns, celebrates country and culture, resilience, and family.

Philippa Bateman's lovingly crafted film stunningly utilises footage consisting of interviews, rehearsals and the opening night, combined with breathtaking images of Ngarrindjeri country in South Australia. This feature documentary is a portrait of artists at the peak of their powers and a musical journey into the landscape of soul.

A fittingly cinematic and spiritual tribute to two much-loved Australian performers, executive produced by Indigenous singer-songwriter Emma Donovan.

Friday 8 July 

Deadly Hoops Basketball and Free Community Lunch

Where: Bellbird Park Indoor Centre, Drouin - bookings not required.
When: 11:00am - 2:30pm

Children playing basketball

Come along for mini games of dodgeball and basketball before watching an official match made up of teams of Traditional Owner youth, Victoria Police and Baw Baw Shire Council staff before a free community BBQ lunch and community yarning time. See the schedule below for details:

  • 11:00am - 12:30pm: mini games of dodgeball and basketball
  • 12:50pm - 1:20pm: Deadly Hoops basketball match
  • 1:30pm - 2:30pm: BBQ lunch and community yarning time 

Xavier Rudd's Jan Juc Moon Tour 2022 with special guest Marlon x Rulla

Where: West Gippsland Art Centre
When: Friday 8 July, 8:00pm
Tickets can be purchased through the West Gippsland Art Centre website. 


The wind blows strong through Xavier Rudd's tenth album. It’s a recurring image that speaks of wide-open space and the awesome natural elements that shape it: a force far greater than us, but ours to harness if we take the time to learn, reflect and respect its ways.

Joining Xavier for the full national tour will be support act Marlon x Rulla a dynamic First Nations duo who burst onto the scence in 2020 performing on some of the nation's biggest stages - opening for Midnight Oil at WOMADelaide, rocking Bass in the Grass in Darwin, Party in the Apocalypse in Tassie and wowing 30,000 fans at the AFL'S Sir Douglas Nicholls round. 

This year there are many other NAIDOC week events happening across Australia.

Click here for a full listing of NAIDOC Week events, or to list yours. 

History of NAIDOC Week

1920 - 1930 

On Australia Day, 1938, protestors marched through the streets of Sydney, followed by a congress attended by over a thousand people. One of the first major civil rights gatherings in the world, it was known as the Day of Mourning.

Following the congress, a deputation led by William Cooper presented Prime Minister Joseph Lyons with a proposed national policy for Aboriginal people. This was again rejected because the Government did not hold constitutional powers in relation to Aboriginal people.

After the Day of Mourning, there was a growing feeling that it should be a regular event. In 1939 William Cooper wrote to the National Missionary Council of Australia to seek their assistance in supporting and promoting an annual event.

More information about the Day of Mourning can be found at the AIATSIS website.

1940 – 1955

From 1940 until 1955, the Day of Mourning was held annually on the Sunday before Australia Day and was known as Aborigines Day. In 1955 Aborigines Day was shifted to the first Sunday in July after it was decided the day should become not simply a protest day but also a celebration of Aboriginal culture.

1956 – 1990

Major Aboriginal organisations, state and federal governments, and a number of church groups all supported the formation of, the National Aborigines Day Observance Committee (NADOC). At the same time, the second Sunday in July became a day of remembrance for Aboriginal people and their heritage.

In 1972, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs was formed, as a major outcome of the 1967 referendum.

In 1974, the NADOC committee was composed entirely of Aboriginal members for the first time. The following year, it was decided that the event should cover a week, from the first to second Sunday in July.

In 1984, NADOC asked that National Aborigines Day be made a national public holiday, to help celebrate and recognise the rich cultural history that makes Australia unique. While this has not happened, other groups have echoed the call.

1991 – Present

With a growing awareness of the distinct cultural histories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, NADOC was expanded to recognise Torres Strait Islander people and culture. The committee then became known as the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC). This new name has become the title for the whole week, not just the day. Each year, a theme is chosen to reflect the important issues and events for NAIDOC Week.

During the mid-1990s, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) took over the management of NAIDOC until ATSIC was disbanded on 15 April 2004.

Over the period from 2004 to 2005 there were interim arrangements, with former Senator Aden Ridgeway chairing the Committee until 2008.

Anne Martin and Ben Mitchell served as co-chairs of the National NAIDOC Committee from 2008 to 2018, when Patricia Thompson and John Paul Janke were elected the Co-Chairs.

The National NAIDOC Committee has made key decisions on national celebrations each year and has representatives from most Australian states and territories.


For more information about NAIDOC Week, please visit