National Reconciliation Week

Coming Together and Respecting Difference

Kassandra Savage (2014) [artwork detail] JCU Art Collection

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The 2023 theme ‘Be a Voice for Generations’ encourages all Australians to be a voice for reconciliation in tangible ways in our everyday lives.

During the week, James Cook University will host several events to welcome our Chancellor Professor Ngiare Brown, celebrate our connection to Eddie Koiki Mabo and provide a forum for discussion on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

As a thought leader and civic university, we seek to enable community discussion on issues relevant to our region. We welcome your participation in the events of National Reconciliation Week as we work together to build a future that is based on truth-telling, mutual understanding, hope, empowerment, and self-determination.

Eddie Koiki Mabo Library

© Rob Parsons / Through The Looking Glass Studio 2020

Chancellor Investiture Ceremony

Don’t miss the chance to be part of history as James Cook University welcomes its sixth Chancellor, Professor Ngiare Brown, in an Investiture Ceremony. Professor Brown is the first female and first Indigenous Chancellor of the University.

Join Vice Chancellor and President, Professor Simon Biggs, members of the University Council and Her Excellency the Honourable Dr Jeannette Young AC PSM, Governor of Queensland for this significant event.

The Investiture will be held at JCU’s Bebegu Yumba Campus in Townsville, on the lawns in front of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library from 3pm on Thursday, 1 June 2023.

An afternoon tea on the lawns will follow the ceremony. Tours of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library showcasing significant works of art, building architecture, history, and special collection displays are available throughout the day.

Register your attendance

JCU’s Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture

Hear from one of Australia’s most respected human rights and social justice campaigners, Professor Tom Calma AO, as he presents JCU’s 2023 Mabo Lecture.

Each year, James Cook University celebrates the history-making Mabo Decision with the long-established Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture Series, an annual public commemorative presentation by a prominent person who has made a significant contribution to contemporary Australian society.

About Professor Tom Calma AO
The Kungarakan Elder who was named the 2023 Senior Australian of the Year, has worked for more than 45 years at local, community, state and international levels championing the rights, responsibilities and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

His call for Australia to address the gap in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples was the catalyst for the Close the Gap Campaign. He was instrumental in establishing the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples; has led the Tackling Indigenous Smoking program; co-chaired Reconciliation Australia for over a decade; and has co-led the co-design of a Voice to Parliament initiative.

JCU’s 2023 Mabo Lecture, will be held at the Sir George Kneipp Auditorium on Bebegu Yumba Campus, Townsville, on the evening of Thursday, 1 June 2023, commencing at 5.45pm.

Register your attendance

Voice to Parliament Community Event

Join our panel of experts as they discuss the upcoming referendum on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.

  • Professor Megan Davis, Pro Vice Chancellor Indigenous at University of New South Wales
  • Associate Professor Sana Nakata, Principal Research Fellow at JCU’s Indigenous Education and Research Centre and co-director of the Indigenous-Settler Relations Collaboration.
  • Cr Ross Andrews, Mayor of Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council
  • Ben Gertz, panel facilitator

JCU staff, students and community members are welcome to join in the discussion at JCU’s Bebegu Yumba Campus in Townsville, on the lawns in front of the Eddie Koiki Mabo Library from 11am on Friday, 2 June 2023.

Discover more

QHRC and QPAC Mabo Oration

The Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) and Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) are hosting the Mabo Oration in Townsville for the first time.  This biennial event pays tribute to Eddie Mabo and the landmark High Court decision. The oration features expert voices in the field of native title and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures on subjects ranging from the legal protection of cultural knowledge to meeting the contemporary challenges of social justice.

In 2023, Professor Megan Davis will deliver the oration with guest speaker Professor Henry Reynolds. MC Jeff McMullen will host the event with introduction by special guest Gail Mabo.

The event will be held at Quayside Terminal, South Townsville from 6pm on Friday, 2 June 2023.

For more information visit or email [email protected]

Mabo Day

Mabo Day is marked annually on 3 June. It commemorates the nation-changing High Court decision to overturn the legal fiction of terra nullius or ‘land belonging to no-one’ which we know as the ‘Mabo Decision’.

Explore the life of Mabo in the 30th-anniversary book ‘Eddie Koiki Mabo: History in the Making

Discover more

  • Voice to Parliament Referendum.
    Acknowledging the historic moment that faces Australia as people must vote in a referendum on whether a Voice to parliament should be enshrined in the constitution. Learn more.
  • Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture Series.
    JCU celebrates the history-making Mabo decision with the long established Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture Series, an annual public commemorative presentation. Find out more.
  • Mabo Interpretive Wall
    Virtual tour of the Mabo Timeline interpretive wall. Explore.
  • JCU Indigenous Engagement.
    Indigenous Education and Research Centre, Reconciliation and support for students. Discover more.