Women's and Children's Hospital, Adelaide
Aboriginal Health

Aboriginal Health


The Women's and Children's Health Network acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of Country throughout South Australia. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing and deep spiritual connection and relationship to land, air, sea, waters, community and country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

National Reconciliation Week is recognised each year from the 27 May until 3 June and the 2021 theme is More than a Word, Reconciliation Takes Action.

Reconciliation Week 2021

The dates of Reconciliation Week are significant milestones in the reconciliation journey, the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

The 1967 referendum on 27 May was historical, more than 90% of Australians voted 'yes' to changing the constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census and allow the Commonwealth to create laws for Aboriginal people.

3 June remembers the courageous efforts of Eddie Koiki Mabo and marks the anniversary of his historic High Court victory. Mr Mabo led the successful 10-year legal battle that challenged the narrative of terra nullius (land belonging to no-one) and to have his people’s ownership of their Mer Island homeland recognised.

Since then much has happened, including greater acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights to land and sea; understanding of the impact of colonisation; past government policies and practices; and an embracing of stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success and contribution.

Reconciliation has both symbolic and practical elements. A spirit of goodwill, mutual respect and recognition of the effects of colonisation on Australia's first people are the symbolic cornerstones of the reconciliation effort. On the practical side, working towards an improved quality of life for Aboriginal people – particularly in areas such as health, education and employment – is essential for achieving equity for all South Australians.

The theme More than a word. Reconciliation takes action asks people to take this awareness and knowledge, and use it as springboard to substantive, brave action.

For reconciliation to be effective, it must involve truth telling, and actively address issues of inequality, systemic racism and instances where the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are ignored, denied or reduced.

Our Network is taking action by launching the next version of our Reconciliation Action Plan at the Innovate level. This Reconciliation Action Plan is the first to be endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

PDF iconInnovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2021–2023

The WCHN has come a long way in the past decade and will continue to build on our progress towards reconciliation. It is everyone's responsibility to build a spirit of goodwill, mutual respect and recognition of the effects of colonisation on Australia’s first people here at WCHN.

We are committed to making our services more relevant, accessible, and culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This means strengthening our existing relationships and building new relationships with Aboriginal individuals, families and communities in closing the gap in Aboriginal life expectancy. This will ensure Aboriginal people share the same rights, respect and access to opportunities and benefits as all South Australians.

Our Network strives to provide a culturally safe and appropriate space for Aboriginal staff and consumers, providing supportive and holistic care at all levels.

There is zero tolerance to racism of any kind at the Women's and Children's Health Network and this is supported at all levels of our organisation.

You can feel safe to call out racist behaviour, we will listen and take action.

View our Reconciliation Action Plan 2017 – 2020

PDF iconReconciliation Action Plan (1.8mb)

For more about National Reconciliation Week you can also visit Link iconReconciliation Australia. To learn more about what's happening in in South Australia visit Link iconReconciliation SA.

last modified: 02 Jun 2021