This past weekend was the Australia Day long weekend. The holiday marks the genocide and dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This day will never be inclusive or live up to ideals of multiculturalism, as it is a Day of Mourning for First Nations people. We need to not just change the date but also #ChangeTheNation. This is time for truth-telling of our national history, a Voice to Parliament and Makarrata (treaty), as outlined in the Uluru Statement From the Heart.
On 26 January, beginning at 11am, we marched at the Invasion Day rally from Hyde Park South to the Yabun Festival. The rally starts with speeches, smoking ceremony and dance commentating survival. Remembering the Waterloo Creek massacre.
This year marks 230 years since the British invaded Australia, leading to the decimation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, with inequities continuing to this day. It is also the 80 year anniversary of the Day of Mourning protests, organised by the Australian Aboriginal Progressive League.
Today’s post reflects on the protests on the lands of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation (Gadigal is the city now known as Sydney). I then provide a visual sociology of the culmination of the protest march, which ended at the Yabun Festival.
Djiringanj Dancers, a group of women cultural performers, singing about the “West Wind” at the Corroboree grounds, during the Yabun Festival.
The Yabun Festival is a celebration for Survival Day. The 26 of January is a national holiday that marks the day British ships arrived in Australia and began the genocide of Indigenous Australians. Survival Day is a day led by Indigenous Australians who affirm the resilience, creativity and excellence of First Australians. This year, the Invasion Day Protests, which aim to change the date and meaning of Australia Day, ended by protesters joining Yabun at the end of the march to enjoy music, stalls, cultural performances, speeches and more.
No pride in genocide! I am in Sydney, land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, who have looked after these lands for over 75,000 years. I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging.
The 26 January is a painful day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is a date commemorating the day British ships (”the First Fleet”) arrived on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands. It is a day that marks the decimation of First Australians; the dispossession of their land; the removal of children to be raised in Missions and in White foster homes with no ties or knowledge of their culture (“the Stolen Generation”); amongst many other human rights crimes. This history impacts Indigenous life chances in the present-day.
On the 26th, I joined 10,000 people in Sydney who marched in solidarity with Indigenous Australians to tell the Australian Government to change the date of Australia Day so that First Australians aren’t being excluded through a national holiday making genocide. Another 50,000 people marched in Melbourne, and tens of thousands more did the same in cities and town around Australia.
Below, you can read my tweets of the protest as it unfolded.