Neighbour Day: Connecting Communities for over 20 years

Sunday 26 March 2023



Neighbour Day is a practical and effective way to help address loneliness across our communities.
Loneliness is detrimental to our overall wellbeing. Social connection and increasing sustainable respectful relationships is the key to better outcomes for individuals and communities alike.
Relationships Australia is pleased to announce that new research conducted in collaboration with the Australian National University has been published demonstrating that involvement in Neighbour Day leads to a tangible and sustained reduction in loneliness.

History of
Neighbour Day

The inaugural Neighbour Day launched in Melbourne in 2003, as an opportunity to “check on your neighbour”. Neighbour Day founder Andrew Heslop, brought about the initial concept of Neighbour Day after the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home. Mrs Elsie Brown lay deceased for two years – forgotten by her neighbours, friends and family.
Neighbour Day began in recognition of the impact loneliness, and lack of social connection has broadly on an individual, as well as community.
Relationships Australia became the custodian of Neighbour Day in 2014 and the day has since grown into an ongoing, year round social connection campaign that seeks to address loneliness across Australia.
2022 marks the 20th Anniversary of Neighbour Day.

Neighbour Day was founded in Melbourne, Australia in March 2003 by Andrew Heslop after the remains of an elderly woman were found inside her suburban home. Andrew Heslop is a community activist, social commentator and well known Australian.

Mrs Elsie Brown had been dead for two years – forgotten by her neighbours, her friends and her family. While Andrew did not know Mrs Brown he was shocked by the apparent ease with which the world had left her behind.

Widespread media interest followed and it was this coverage that prompted Andrew to suggest a ‘National Check on Your Neighbour Day’ in a Letter to the Editor of The Melbourne Age in 2003.

Andrew was inspired by his late grandparents and his own neighbour – 83 year old Clive Tayler of Albert Park. An active resident in the street Clive mowed the nature strips of his neighbours, picked up the rubbish and recycling bins on Monday mornings, mended loose gates and took care of the odd jobs which needed to be done.

Always good-humoured, gentle and kind Clive was never intrusive – proving you can be a great neighbour without actually becoming intimately involved in other people’s lives.

So Andrew’s concept was refined, renamed and on Sunday 30th March 2003 the first Neighbour Day was observed.

Since 2003, Neighbour Day has progressed from a reminder to connect with elderly neighbours to an annual celebration of strong communities and friendly streets. People of all ages participate because everyone everywhere is a neighbour no matter where you live nor your personal circumstances.

Not only do residents and office colleagues hold barbecues and street parties on front lawns and in the car parks of business areas to celebrate, councils and other local government bodies also hold major festivals and community events!

Neighbour Day has now been endorsed by the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Lord Mayors and local government Ministers.

In 2008 founder Andrew Heslop spoke at the United Nations in New York about the development of Australia’s annual celebration of community, Neighbour Day.
Relationships Australia has been the home of Neighbour Day since January 2014.

Relationships Australia is proud to share our new community language resources. Download infographics and social media assets here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing resources

Including a tip sheet to help with loneliness

Our supporters

A broad range of individuals and organisations continue to actively show support for Neighbour Day. Throughout the years, these collaborations have greatly contributed to community awareness, as well as a sustained reduction in loneliness.

Neighbour Day Ambassadors are much-loved members of our communities who support the principal aim of Neighbour Day, which is to build sustainable respectful relationships with the people around us.

Ambassadors generously help raise awareness of Neighbour Day and its messages about the importance of social inclusion and connection in communities around Australia.

Read about what our Ambassadors have to say

Very Neighbourly Organisations

Very Neighbourly Organisations (VNO) are organisations that uphold and promote the principles of Neighbour Day. These important organisations are able and committed to helping increase respectful relationships across Australia, one social connection at a time.

Learn more

Community organisations

A number of community organisations continue to support Neighbour Day each year. These vital organisations are often the heart of communities and take action on loneliness every day.

Many of these are also very neighbourly organisations.

Learn more


Many Councils around the country are actively involved in annual Neighbour Day activities and events. Councils play a key role in connecting individuals and communities.

Many of these are also very neighbourly organisations.

Learn more

“Community and connectedness and culture go hand in hand. It’s a way to show respect and also a way of identifying who we are and where we come from. This sense of belonging and connectedness to family and community - is central to our culture.”

Natalie Ahmat, Neighbour Day Ambassador

“I see friendships formed over community gardens week in and week out. Verge gardens, pocket parks, laneways…you name it. Families, kids, adults and elders are nurturing their environment and growing things for the birds, insects and people to share. It’s not just the plants that are growing in the garden, people are too. They are connecting with one another, all ages together.”

Costa Georgiadis, Neighbour Day Ambassador


“I had always wanted to have a caring, connected neighbourhood, but didn’t really know where to start. Neighbour Day gave me ideas, tools and an excuse to get on with it.”

Neighbour Day host


“Making friends in your community can help alleviate feelings of isolation and can also help you feel safer in your neighbourhood. There are so many positives to getting to know your neighbours, and there’s no better time to get started than this Neighbour Day.”

Councillor Liam Mooney, Townsville City Council website 


“Liverpool City Council is proud to join the 'Very Neighbourly Organisation' network and to be part of the Neighbour Day initiative, led by Relationships Australia. Very Neighbourly Organisations encourage residents to connect with others who live in their neighbourhood, particularly those who may be isolated or vulnerable. Council believes in the importance of social connection as a means of combating isolation, depression and loneliness.”

Very Neighbourly Organisation, Liverpool City Council website