Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that this website contains images, voices and names of deceased persons.

The NSW Public Service Commission wishes to advise that the next section contains information about Stolen Generations. The content may be distressing or raise issues of concern for some people.

Section 1: Aboriginal history and culture

In this section, you will learn about key aspects of Aboriginal culture, heritage and history including the importance of Country, family kinship and Aboriginal languages.

An Aboriginal person’s identity and understanding of heritage and history are uniquely tied to culture and Country. A person’s relationship with culture is unique and individual to each Aboriginal person – it is shaped by lived experiences, location, and family.

Section 2: Aboriginal cultural protocols and practices

In this section, you will learn about Aboriginal cultural practices. Respect for cultural practices is important in providing culturally safe and diverse environments. community and in workplaces. Aboriginal culture and heritage is diverse and these practices may differ across locations and groups.

“Here in Australia, we’re fortunate enough to have one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world. This is something we should all be proud of and celebrate.”

Dr Tom Calma AO
Kungarakan Elder, Member of the Iwaidja tribal group
Human rights and social justice campaigner, Chancellor of the University of Canberra

“As a public sector employee doing cultural capability training, I want to learn the importance of Aboriginal cultural protocols so that I can act in a way that is culturally appropriate and respectful.”

NSW public sector employee

“There was no recognition that the cultures and social structures of Aboriginal people in Sydney were as rich, diverse and complex as other nations around the world today. Ironically, the first Europeans would rely on Aboriginal knowledge of the area for their survival at various times.”

Anita Heiss
Wiradjuri Woman
Aboriginal author, advocate and social commentator

“Europeans often didn’t know what they were looking at when observing Indigenous people in their culture. Often blinded by their confident belief in their own racial superiority.”

Professor Larissa Behrendt AO FASSA
Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman
Academic, writer and advocate

“You can keep your gold. We just want our land back.”

Vincent Lingiari
Gurindji man

“We want to work out our own destiny. Our people have not had the courage to stand together in the past, but now we are united, and are determined to work for the preservation for all of those interests, which are near and dear to us.”

Uncle Fred Maynard
Worimi man

“What I would think the Aboriginal people want ... is dignity, self-respect and a place in Australian society under some of the terms we dictate.”

Charles Perkins AO
Arrernte and Kalkadoon man
Aboriginal activist

“There comes a time in the history of nations when their peoples must be fully reconciled to their past if they are to go forward with confidence to embrace their future.”

The Hon. Kevin Rudd AC
Former Australian Prime Minister
National Apology to the Stolen Generations

“I remind myself that – despite the incredible pressures people are under – the ideals of self-reliance and self-determination have never disappeared amongst our peoples.”

Pat Anderson AO
Alyawarre woman from the Northern Territory
Human rights advocate and writer

“We – Australians black and white – meet each other across the gulf of our history.”

Professor Stan Grant
Wiradjuri man
Journalist, author, Vice Chancellor's Chair of Australian-Indigenous Belonging at Charles Sturt University.

Section 3: Initial contact and colonisation of Australia

In this section, you will learn about initial contact between Aboriginal peoples and British settlers, conflicts between the two groups, and some of the key early Aboriginal leaders.

Section 4: Exclusion, Control, Segregation and Assimilation Policies

In this section, you will learn about past government policies and practices. It also explains how trauma, and intergenerational trauma stemming directly from those policies, affects survivors, their families and descendants.

Section 5: Aboriginal land rights and native title rights

In this section, you will learn about Aboriginal peoples’ work to reclaim the land and water taken since colonisation, without consultation or compensation, under the legal principle of terra nullius (land belonging to no one). It will explore key national events in the fight for Aboriginal land rights.

Section 6: The fight for human rights and equality

In this section, you will learn about the beginnings of Aboriginal activism, the ongoing fight for human rights and the successes of activists.

Section 7: Self-determination and community

In this section, you will learn about how government policies and the relationships between government and Aboriginal communities shifted focused to self-determination and self-management.

This shift marked a radical departure from paternalistic protection policies and enabled the creation of Aboriginal community–controlled services and organisations. These organisations are vital for delivering culturally safe services.

You will also learn about new laws to prohibit racial discrimination and how the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody planted the seed for reconciliation.

Section 8: Road to reconciliation, recognition and reparations

In this section, you will learn about the importance of reconciliation, reparations and recognition for Aboriginal people and for Australian society. Important milestones in government acknowledgement of the wrongs of past policies and actions are included in this section.

Section 9: Aboriginal people in NSW today

In this section, you will learn about the Aboriginal population in NSW today, and the need for strong partnership between government and Aboriginal communities.

Section 10: Government working with community to heal

In this section, you will learn about some of the ways that governments are working with Aboriginal people to hear their truths, and to rebuild trust and self-determination. All levels of government in Australia play a role in righting the wrongs of Australia’s past policies that have caused untold trauma to Aboriginal communities.

Section 11: Reconciliation in action

This section focuses on continuing your cultural awareness journey. You will learn about practical things you can do to contribute to reconciliation, and ideas for turning your cultural awareness knowledge into actions.