National Reconciliation Week
The Sisters of Mercy
who came to Parramatta in 1888,
respectfully remember the Burramattagal
who were the first people to live in this area.
In honoring the memory of the Burramattagal,
we acknowledge with sorrow
the immeasurable suffering caused to them
and to all Aboriginal Australians
by European colonization.
We recognise with shame
that such suffering endures to the present generation.
Today with faith and hope
we pray for the Aboriginal people and ourselves
that God’s Mercy and Justice will prevail in all our lives and in the heart of our nation.
National Reconciliation Week celebrates the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and all other Australians. Every year, the week is held between the same dates, 27 May to 3 June. The dates draw attention to significant historical events in Australia. On 27 May 1967, the referendum allowed the Australian Government to change the Constitution so that it could make specific laws that applied to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that could assist in addressing inequalities. They were now recognised in the national census. The High Court's landmark Mabo decision, made on 3 June 1992, overturned the concept of 'terra nullius' (meaning that no one owned the lands before European Settlement). It legally recognised that Indigenous people had a special relationship to the land-that existed prior to colonisation and still exists today. This recognition paved the way for Indigenous land rights called Native Title.