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Children’s Day is an opportunity for us to show our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children while also learning about the critical role that culture, family and community play in the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Every year Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities – and all Australians – come together and celebrate the strengths and culture of our children. The day is an opportunity for us to show our support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, while also learning about the critical role that culture, family and community play in the lives of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

Children’s Day is an initiative of SNAICC and we organise a national launch event annually for Children’s Day to be held at a different location each year. These events also see the wider community take the lead in celebrating Children’s Day with amazing and diverse celebrations across the country.

SNAICC produces and distributes resources to help local communities and organisations celebrate the day, including 15,000 Children’s Day bags and other resources to support more than 500 community events across Australia.

History of Children’s Day

On 4 August 1988, the first National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day was established, amid protests led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their supporters during the bicentennial year. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples felt that a day was needed to celebrate our children, to instill confidence in them and to make them feel special and included.

The date 4 August was chosen as the day to celebrate as it has historically been used to communally celebrate the birthdays of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who were taken from their families at a young age, without knowing their birthday – the Stolen Generations.

Since its establishment, Children’s Day has become a major event in the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and community organisations. Every year, the wider Australian community has taken the lead in celebrating Children’s Day, with amazing and diverse celebrations across the country. Cultural events, open days, arts and crafts, storytelling, face painting, concerts, morning teas and community barbeques are all held to commemorate the occasion.

Why is Children’s Day Important?

The majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are thriving and growing up strong in their cultures with support from family and community. However, there is a significant number of children that continue to face ongoing challenges that stem from colonisation and its effects. This includes discrimination, poverty, systemic removal, intergenerational trauma, dislocation from land and culture and community disempowerment. 

To achieve equality, we must approach these challenges through a holistic approach that considers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s wellbeing, safety and development. Children’s Day is important as a national celebration for our children, to give them confidence and advocate for systemic changes to be made.

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