NAIDOC Week 2017!

Posted 5 Jul 2017.

What is NAIDOC Week?

NAIDOC Week (2-9 July) is a national celebration of the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Each year, it is the committee's responsibility to organise national events and activities in line with the NAIDOC week theme.


This year's NAIDOC Week theme is: Our Languages Matter

NAIDOC themes are designed to reflect on the important issues, events and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year's theme aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in Aboriginal cultural identity.

“Our language is like a pearl inside a shell. The shell is like the people that carry the language. If our language is taken away, then that would be like a pearl that is gone. We would be like an empty oyster shell.”

Yurranydjil Dhurrkay, Galiwin'ku, North East Arnhem Land.

We chat to Deanne Lewis from our Aboriginal Advisory Group about NAIDOC Week!


You may know more Noongar than you think!

There are 69 suburbs in the Perth metro area that are named after or derived from Aboriginal words or names.

• Booragoon is the Aboriginal name for the lower reaches of the Canning River.

• Innaloo was originally known by the Aboriginal name Njookenbooroo. Many found the name too hard to pronounce and so it was renamed Innaloo, after an  Aboriginal woman from Dongara.

• Kalamunda is named after two Aboriginal words – Cala-meaning home and Munda-meaning forest.


What are the Noongar words for some of Perth's iconic locations?

• Rottnest Island - Wadjemup

• The Swan River - Derbal Yerrigan

• King's Park - Mooro Katta OR Kaarta Gar-up

• Fremantle – Walyalup



Aboriginal art on canvas is a fairly recent concept which started just 40 years ago. Prior to this, the Aboriginal people would smooth over the soil and draw their sacred designs into the earth. Paint was also applied to the body, especially during ceremonies and rituals to represent specific meanings. Contemporary Aboriginal artwork is regarded to have begun in Papunya in 1971 as part of the Papunya Tula Art Movement. The use of symbols in a contemporary artwork is imperative to communicate Aboriginal culture, history, stories and songs from the past. To knowledgeable Aboriginal people, seeing a painting or a design will call to mind a song. Many senior painters sing as they paint the story of the song. Check out some of these symbols in the image below.

Our RAP Artwork

Our Reconciliation Action Plan artwork contains 7 different elements, each representing a different meaning. Find out what these meanings are here. 


Attend a NAIDOC Week event!

Click here for a full list of NAIDOC Week events.

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