NAIDOC Week 2020


This week marks NAIDOC Week (8 to 15 November) which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

You might be aware that NAIDOC celebrations are usually held around Australia each July, but this year the National NAIDOC Committee decided to postpone the event in the interest of safety due to COVID-19.

At the NSW RFS over the years we have continued to work with our Indigenous communities through initiatives like the Bushfire Resilience for Aboriginal Communities Project, the Firesticks workshop where Indigenous rangers undertake bush fire training and training for NSW RFS staff in cultural awareness, and our increasing involvement in cultural burning activities.

In the past year we’ve created two all-Indigenous mitigation crews, which focus on protection works for local communities, and working in those communities to help improve the level of preparedness and understand fire in the landscape.

And we have also recently completed a Community Field Liaison Officer course specifically for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, creating a team of Indigenous members who can engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities during emergency events.

We also value the experiences and knowledge that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and members bring to our service, which continues to increase our capacity to engage respectfully with our Indigenous communities.

NAIDOC Week is celebrated not just in the Indigenous communities but also across Australia by governments, schools, local councils and workplaces. So I would encourage everyone across the NSW Rural Fire Service to find out how their local communities will be marking the week and to take part proudly representing the NSW RFS.

Here are just some of the ways you can take part NAIDOC Week:

  • Find out what’s on in your area by getting in touch with your Local Aboriginal Land Council or check out details of local events on the NAIDOC Week website.
  • Research the Traditional Owners of your area – it’s a great opportunity learn more about your community, whether that’s local Indigenous sites of significance or interest, or learning the meanings of local or national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names and words. Check out apps such as Native Land and Welcome to Country to find what Aboriginal nation your brigade resides in.
  • Share a post on social media – if your brigade or team take part in NAIDOC Week, take a picture (or video) and share it using the hashtag #NAIDOCWeek. We’ll be looking to share some of the best on the main NSW RFS channels.

You can find more ideas and information about NAIDOC Week on the NAIDOC Week website.

Every day across NSW RFS you will find us working side by side, sharing knowledge, experience and culture with Indigenous communities – it's a partnership we should be proudly celebrating this NAIDOC Week.

Keep safe,

Rob Rogers AFSM