Using poetry, song and film to explore National Reconciliation Week

Mildura Rural City Council has launched the second of two creative arts competitions aimed at recognising key events in modern Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

Council last week launched the National Sorry Day photo competition, which recognises National Sorry Day and its acknowledgment of the Stolen Generations. For more on this competition visit

A second competition will focus on National Reconciliation Week and draw on the talents of the region’s short story tellers.

The National Reconciliation Week Poem, Short Story, Songs and Short Film competition is free to enter and open to all age groups and nationalities in three categories.

National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June each year and is bookended by two significant events in our country’s reconciliation journey – the anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum (27 May) and the historic Mabo decision in 1992 (3 June).

Entries need to be based around these milestone themes, which explain the key points of National Reconciliation Week:


This week is an ideal time for everyone to join the reconciliation conversation and reflect on shared histories, contributions and achievements. It is held annually and is a time to celebrate and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

National Reconciliation Week is framed by two key events in Australia’s history, which provide strong symbols for reconciliation.


On 27 May 1967, the Australian Government held a referendum which saw more than 90 per cent of Australian voters choose ‘yes’ to count Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the census. The referendum also gave the Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

This was a momentous turning point in Australian history and altered the Australian Constitution.


Mabo Day (3 June) commemorates the courageous efforts of Eddie Koiki Mabo to overturn the fiction of terra nullius (land belonging to no-one) – the legal concept that Australia and the Torres Strait Islands were not owned by Indigenous peoples because they did not ‘use’ the land in ways Europeans believed constituted legal possession.

Entries are open in the following three categories and must include the words ‘in this together’, which is this year’s theme for National Reconciliation Week:

Poem/Short Story: must be a minimum of 50 words.

Song: must be a minimum of one minute long.

Short Film: be creative in stage and styling, experiment with new technology and use different transitions and animations. Films must be no longer than two minutes long.

Entries close on Wednesday 20 May.

For details on how to enter, visit

Winners will be announced on Council’s Facebook page on 27 May and receive gift cards and certificates.

Councillor for Community Development and Gender Equality Helen Healy said the competition allowed Sunraysia residents to gain a greater understanding of these important periods in Australia’s history.

“National Reconciliation Week is a fantastic initiative, reminding us of the progress that has been made towards respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians,” Cr Healy said.

“By encouraging local residents to take part in our National Reconciliation Week competition, I’m hopeful we can impart the Reconciliation message on to a wider group of people in our community.”

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