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Commemorative plaques

Defining Moments in Australian History

Warning: This website includes images and names of deceased people that may cause sadness or distress to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Commemorative plaques

The National Museum of Australia is unveiling a series of commemorative plaques representing Defining Moments.

Snowy Mountains Scheme

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme was honoured as a Defining Moment in Australian History with the presentation of a commemorative plaque in Cooma on 19 March 2017.

Mabo decision

This plaque honours the Mabo decision, which was handed down by the High Court of Australia on 3 June 1992 on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait on 17 June 2015.

Stainless steel plaque unveiled.
From left: Maria Passi, Bishop Saibo Mabo, Aven Noah, Bua Mabo Snr and Mat Trinca. Photo: George Serras.

The Museum honours the Mabo decision as a defining moment in our history. This landmark decision defined Australian law on native title.

Media release: National Museum marks High Court’s Mabo decision


This plaque commemorates the Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy who led a resistance movement against European settlement from 1792 until his death in 1802.

It was unveiled in the Museum’s Main Hall by the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Education and Training, and Uncle Vic Simms, Elder of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council, on 20 March 2015.

Event highlights

Read the transcript of the event highlights

Minister Pyne's full speech

Read the transcript of Minister Pyne's full speech

Media release: National Museum honours Aboriginal warrior Pemulwuy

Convict cargo

A plaque marking Captain Arthur Phillip’s establishment of the convict settlement at Sydney Cove in 1788 was unveiled in the Museum's Main Hall by the Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister of Australia, at the launch of the Defining Moments in Australian History project on 29 August 2014.