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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 particular Defining Moments.

Mabo decision

This plaque honours the Mabo decision, which was handed down by the High Court of Australia on 3 June 1992.

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

The plaque was unveiled by members of the extended Mabo and Passi families and Director of the National Museum of Australia, Dr Mat Trinca. The event took place on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait on 17 June 2015.

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.

The plaque was unveiled in the National 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. The event also involved:

  • Ms Selina Walker, who provided the Welcome to Country
  • Dr Mat Trinca, Director of the National Museum of Australia
  • Mr Russell Taylor, Principal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Ms Marlene Cummins, who performed a song about Pemulwuy

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

The first plaque marks Captain Arthur Phillip’s establishment of the convict settlement at Sydney Cove in 1788.

It was unveiled 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.