Family friendly events, concerts & free activities
National Reconciliation Week is held between 27th May - 3rd June each year, as these dates reflect the anniversaries of the successful 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively. It is an opportunity for everyone in Australia to join together as one community and move forward together, towards a bright and respectful future. Throughout the week there are events all around Canberra which celebrate indigenous culture and encourage all Australians to interact and become involved in the activities.
This year will be the first year that the ACT has a public holiday for Reconciliation Day on Monday, 28th May. It is the only state or territory to make the day a public holiday, which means that we have even more opportunity to take part in the organised events around the Capital. See below for just some of the events planned, to mark this week of unity...
1/ Reconciliation in the Park will be held at Glebe Park and will host a range of activities for all ages. Starting at 10am, there will be a line-up of entertainment on stage including pop duo Busby Marou and local Indigenous performers and dancers including the Wiradjuri Echoes. Also performing is Canberra's own The Voice finalist, teen sensation Lucy Sugerman, The Chesterfield Band, Johnny Huckle and Hardcover. Also look out for basket weaving, bush tucker talks, storytelling and children's art workshops. In addition to the cultural activities the kids can join in there will be a petting zoo, jumping castle and face painting. Take part in all the festivities and enjoy lunch from the food trucks. The event will conclude at 2pm. See here for details.
2/ The National Gallery of Australia have a number of events planned for Reconciliation Week, with commemorative events on 26th May for National Sorry Day, including a film showing of "Footprints on Our Land", about the life of Canberra's Aunty Agnes Shea OAM, the most senior Ngunnawal elder. On 28th May for Reconciliation Day, there will be cultural performances, conversations, workshops and drop-in craft activities for the whole family to enjoy. All the activities are free. See here for details.
Family fun at the National Gallery of Australia. Image: NMA website
3/ The National Museum of Australia will be holding Reconciliation Day Celebrations on 28th May, with free activities such as traditional dance, talks and hands-on activities between 10am - 12pm. See here for details. The National Museum of Australia is a fascinating museum to explore - especially on Reconciliation Day - with exhibitions in the Gallery of First Australians which cover thousands of years of indigenous history, to today.
4/ The National Portrait Gallery will be having an interactive family space for kids called the Mirawarri Art Cart, between 26th - 28th May. Create your own digital image using an app developed by the Warnayaka Art Centre with Gretta Louw and Sneakaway Studio. Also on the same dates is another event for kids called Selfhood, which is a creative workshop for 6 - 12 year olds at a cost of $12 per child. The National Portrait Gallery will also be hosting Reconciliation Week Highlights Tours, between 26th May - 3rd June. Outside of the National Portrait Gallery is also Reconciliation Place, which is a walkway of indigenous sculptures and a monument to the reconciliation between Australia's indigenous people and the settler population.
Family fun at the National Portrait Gallery. Image: NPG website
5/ The Canberra Theatre Centre will be having two HUGE events on Reconciliation Day Eve, with the night starting with Archie Roach & Tiddas at 8pm in The Playhouse, with tickets starting from $65 a ticket. This concert goes for 2 hours, including interval. Outside the theatre, in the Canberra Theatre Centre Bar, the Briggs: Bad Apples House Party kicks off at 9:30pm and features musicians and artists from Bad Apples Music - Australia's most prolific Indigenous record label. The party will be headlined by Briggs, featuring performances from Birdz, Omar Musa, Nooky, Alice Skye, Tasman Keith, Kobie Dee and hosted by Hau. Tickets cost $30 plus booking fee. See here for details and see below, for the Canberra Theatre advertisement.
As the ACT has a public holiday on Monday, 28th May, the people of Canberra have a unique opportunity to enjoy all the Reconciliation events and activities on offer, to start new traditions for this important day. For kids in particular, it is a day to teach them about Australia's past, but to also look forward to a brighter future of unity for all Australians.
Book Launch at the National Library on 26th May - Children's book Sorry Day, written by Coral Vass and illustrated by Dub Leffler. Image: National Library website