ANTaR Sea of Hands

ANTaR is a national advocacy organisation dedicated specifically to the rights – and overcoming the disadvantage – of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. ANTaR stands for ‘Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation’. They are a key organisation that sought to amplify the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to support Aboriginal interests in negotiations over the Native Title Act 1993.

What is the Sea of Hands?

The ANTaR’s Sea of Hands was an important symbol of reconciliation and recognition of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through the mobilization of non-Indigenous Australians to support native title and reconciliation.

The Sea of Hands was held on 12 October 1997, out the front of Parliament House in Canberra. It used the petition established by ANTaR, called the Citizen’s Statement on Native Title, to mobilise support for native title.

Image: Sea of Hands Installation, Parliament House lawns, Canberra, 12 October 1997 (Source: ANTaR)


Hands in the colour of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags were placed out the front of Parliament House, with each one holding a signature from the Citizen’s Statement. There were over 70,000 peoples signatures displayed in the Sea of Hands.

This movement was in response to the Howard Government’s Ten Point Plan strategy to amend the Native Title Act.

Why is the Sea of Hands important?

The Sea of Hands have been an important symbol of the struggle of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for recognition and reconciliation across Australia. The challenges faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through native title and the struggle for recognition was brought to the fore by the movement.

Image: Sea of Hands Installation in Uluru, 1 September 1998 (Source: AIATSIS)


As the Sea of Hands represents the movement around Native Title, the Uluru Statement from the Heart seeks to continue this momentum and the call for real change. A Voice to Parliament would give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a say over laws that impact Native Title.

To support the Uluru Statement, sign up to From the Heart here.