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AIATSIS Timeline

The timeline below celebrates some of the milestone events in AIATSIS' history.

2016 - Reflecting its credibility in growing, building and promoting understanding of Indigenous culture and heritage, AIATSIS is given an explicit role in providing advice to the Commonwealth on the situation and status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.

2015 - The Governor General, the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Cosgrove launch the AIATSIS Foundation to develop partnerships and raise funds to support and extend the Institutes work.

2008 - The Australian Parliament apologises to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for profound grief, suffering and loss inflicted by national law and policy.

1994 - AIATSIS produces the award winning - The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia, with 2000 entries from 200 researchers on all known aspects of Indigenous history, society and culture.

1992 - Terra Nullius is overturned when the High Court upholds Eddie Mabo and Meriam plaintiffs’ claim on Mer Island. Bidjara woman Marcia Langton becomes the first Female Chair of the AIATSIS Council.

1989 - The AIAS becomes the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS).

1984 - The AIAS provides a small grant to Edward Koiki Mabo to record traditional boundaries on Mer Island in the Torres Strait.

1976 - Ephraim Bani becomes the first Torres Strait Islander appointed to the AIAS Council.

1974 - The Council approves funding for the training of Aboriginal people involved in AIAS research projects.

1970 - Alawa man Philip Roberts becomes the first Aboriginal member of the AIAS Council.

1967 - Over 90% of Australians vote ‘Yes’ to give Aboriginal people legislative and constitutional recognition.

1964 - Act of Parliament passed to establish the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies (AIAS) to preserve as many components of traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as possible, before they were lost forever.

1961 - More than fifty scholars establish an institute and interim Council in Canberra, aiming to record endangered Aboriginal cultures.