Record crowds at January 26 events

2017 kicked off with record crowds at Survival Day/Invasion Day events around Victoria. Share the Spirit and Belgrave Survival Day experienced record crowd numbers and the Invasion Day Rally in Melbourne experienced an unprecedented crowd for a rally of its type, estimated by some to be close to 50,000. The inaugural Reconciliation Comedy Gala fundraiser was also a sellout.

Reconciliation Victoria Council and staff members attended events on the day and in the lead up to Jan 26 we provided advice to local government and community members around how to approach 26th January respectfully. We encouraged local councils and organisations commemorating the day to recognise the honoured place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in our nation's history, to be sensitive to the feelings of Aboriginal people who see the day as one of mourning, and to see the day as an opportunity to promote understanding, respect and reconciliation.

Read our protocol on respectfully commemorating the day.

Read a sample of the conversations below as well as our Reflection Piece on 26th Jan here.

Photo: John Weeks -  Belgrave Survival Day.

For more images from Belgrave Survival Day visit Barbara Oehring Photography

It was a full house at the Malthouse Theatre on 26 January for the Reconciliation Comedy Gala, hosted by Uncle Jack Charles and Judith Lucy. This wonderful afternoon of comedy and entertainment was a fundraiser for the City of Yarra’s Stolen Generations Marker, a permanent outdoor artwork to honour the struggles and resilience of the Stolen Generations.
The Stolen Generations Marker and surrounding garden is being developed in partnership between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Yarra City Council. It  will be designed by an Aboriginal artist and located in the heart of Aboriginal Fitzroy. The Maker is expected to be completed in November 2017, to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the Bringing them Home Report.
If you missed the Reconciliation Gala but would still like to support the Stolen Generations Marker, you can make a tax deductible donation here



It may be behind us but there was so much robust discussion and creative responses to January 26 that we thought we’d share some of them with you here. As champions of reconciliation in your community we encourage you to share widely.

The Guardian view on Australia day:
"Change the Date"

“Many of our people call it Invasion Day … to many Indigenous Australians, in fact, most Indigenous Australians, it really reflects the day in which our world came crashing down.”  

Mick Dodson

Read the full article in The Guardian

"The day I don't feel Australian? That would be Australia Day."

"The disconnect I feel on the January 26 is not a rejection of my mother’s history. Rather, it is a rejection of the privileging of one version of history at the expense of another. I simply cannot be part of the collective amnesia that sweeps the nation on January 26 each year. This amnesia is evidenced in our current prime minister choosing the arrival of the First Fleet as the 'defining moment' of our national identity." 
Chelsea Bond, Senior Lecturer, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit (ATSIS Unit), The University of Queensland.

Read the full article in The Conversation



"Sometimes Australians say silly things to avoid discussing the big black elephant in the room. Chris Graham, in New Matilda, provides a simple list of rebuttals."

Read these rebuttals in New Matilda


"Every year on 26 January I wonder a bit about how I am going to refer to the day, Invasion Day, Survival Day or Day of Mourning? Over the years I have referred to it as all of these, and I think the choice I make reflects a bit about the mood I am in at that time, where I am at in life, and where Australia is in general."   

"There are times we need to protest. Other times we need to breathe, and to celebrate that we are still here despite the obstacles we have overcome and those we still face. And at other times we just need to mourn, and to heal."
Luke Pearson, NITV

Read the full article by Luke Pearson

NITV explored Indigenous perspectives on what 26 January means for many, acknowledging our history and our survival, and encouraging more Australians to understand that Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land.
View here.

Amy McQuire, from New Matilda, helps you dip your toe in the water of the real history of this nation.
View here.

Much more has happened on this date beyond Arthur Phillip claiming Aboriginal land under the British Empire. Reflections on some of the important historical moments. Luke Pearson and Sophie Verass.
View here.

"I can only conclude from all this that changing the date would be little more than celebrating the invasion and genocide of Indigenous people on another day." Celeste Liddle, Eureka Street.
View here.

Why We Must Stop Celebrating Australia Day on January 26 – Warren Mundine
View here.