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Survival Day events and marches planned across Australia

Emma Ruben -

When choosing a day for national celebration, countries all over the world usually choose the anniversary of the day they gained independence.

The Americans celebrate the 4th of July as the day the Declaration of Independence was signed. Brazil celebrates the day they became independent in 1822. India marks Republic Day, celebrating the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect, coincidentally January 26, 1950. Liberation Day in Italy, April 25, marks the fall of Mussolini's fascist regime.

Australia is perhaps the only country to mark its national day on the anniversary of the beginning of its own colonisation; a date synonymous with the violent dispossession of Australia's First Nations people.

Every year, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people come together to not only protest the date chosen for Australia Day, but also to recognise the resilience and courage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the face of more than two centuries of colonialism.

In each state, various Survival Day / Invasion Day events will be happening across January 25 and 26.

New South Wales

Yabun Festival (Eora - Sydney)

One of the biggest festivals celebrating and recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in Australia, Yabun Festival is held annually on January 26 every year.

What begun in 2003 is now one of the biggest events in all of Eora on January 26 at Victoria Park. A free event, Yabun Festival features live music, market stalls and panel discussions in Aboriginal issues. Previous Yabun performers includes Barkaa, Tessa Thames and Emma Donovan.

Day of Mourning (Awabakal and Woirimi Country - Newcastle)

In it's fourth year, Day of Mourning kicks off at Custom's House Fountain Newcastle. If it's previous year's celebrations are anything to go by, it will be a day celebrating Indigenous culture and history in the spirit of togetherness.

This year's Day of Mourning also provides information and facts about the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament. And at 11:30am, there will be a 'releasing' of sorry business walking along wharf road.

Invasion Day March (Eora - Sydney)

Eora's Invasion Day march will begin at Belmore Park on January 26. After speeches and a walk around the CBD, the march will lead to Victoria Park to join the Yabun Festival.


Invasion Day Protest (Naarm - Melbourne)

While details have not been finalised as of yet, Naarm's annual Invasion Day protest will begin at 11am at the Victorian Parliament House on January 26.

Our Survival Day (Naarm - Melbourne)

Aboriginal-owned and woman-led organisation Our Songlines brings Our Survival Day together to make Indigenous culture accessible to First Nations people and allies in a safe, supportive environment.

This year's Our Survival Day will be held at The Briars, Mt Martha on Bunurong land. On Country, everyone is welcomed to enjoy First Nations musical voices, bush foods, picnics, cultural workshops and dancing. Our Songlines created this event as an alternative to Australia Day on January 26.

Artists such as Mitch Tambo, Dallas Woods and 2 Lubly will be in attendance.


Invasion Day 2023 (Meanjin - Brisbane)

Meanjin's annual Invasion Day march will being in Queens Gardens at 10am. This year's theme, 'treaty before voice' will hone in around the Voice to Parliament discussion.

Annual Survival Day Ceremony (Meanjin - Brisbane)

All Aussies are invited to the local acknowledgement of Survival Day on January 26 at 7:15am, for a short ceremony at the water of Benarrawa (Oxley Creek).

The Benarrawa Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Solidarity Group's celebrates the survival of the first peoples of this country, especially the people who lived, gathered, raised their families and cared for the waters and lands along the banks of the Brisbane River and Benarrawa.

Bring your own clap sticks, water, chair/rug and native flowers to be cast into the river as part of the ceremony.

Photo credit: Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance.

South Australia

Survival Day March (Tarntanya - Adelaide)

You might know her as the actress from Rabbit Proof Fence, but Natasha Wanganeen is co-hosting the Tarntanya Survival Day March this January 26.

The event begins at Victoria Square from 12pm onwards and calls for Australians to come together to "listen to our First Nations people's battle for justice and rights".

Mourning in the Morning (Tarntanya - Adelaide)

An early morning smoking ceremony at Tarntanya Wama (Elder Park) is a time for First Nations leaders to come together for truth telling of history and a chance for reconciliation.

A one-hour event, it welcomes all to listen, learn and pay respects through a Welcome to Country, a smoking ceremony and a speaker's address.

Tindo Utpurndee Sunset Ceremony (Tarntanya - Adelaide)

A day before January 26, Burka, senior man Karl Winda Telfer will lead a sunset ceremony in Tarntanya Wama (Elder Park) to witness, recognise and listen to the voices of recovery from First Nations' people.

This ceremony will speak on spirit, truth and recovery and will provide an opportunity to gain a deeper bi-cultural understanding of Tarntanya Wama's ancient landscape.

Western Australia

Invasion Day 2023 (Boorloo - Perth)

The annual Invasion Day gathering and march will begin at Forrest Chase in Boorloo's city centre at 12pm on Jan 26.

Birak Concert (Boorloo - Perth)

A celebration of music, dance and art, the Birak Concert is hosted by Aboriginal Shows and Productions. From 3pm to 7:30pm on January 26.

The program includes acts such as Red Ochre Band and Phil Walleystack and stallholders such as 13 Yarn, Jilalga Designs and Reconciliation WA.


Invasion Day 2023 (Nipaluna - Hobart)

An event by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, the rally and march in Nipaluna calls for a change to the date of Australia Day.

The march begins at 10:45am at 198 Elizabeth Street while the rally begins at 11:45am at Parliament Lawns.

Invasion Day 2023 (Limilinaturi - Devonport)

Also by the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, this rally and march is situated in Limilinaturi.

The march begins at 11:30am at Tulaminakali Health Service and the rally begins at 11:50am in Market Square.

Photo credit: Johan Mouchet/Unsplash.

Northern Territory

Smoking Ceremony (Garramilla - Darwin)

Conducted by the Larrakia people, the Smoking Ceremony will mark the opening of Australia Day in the Northern Territory.

The event acknowledges First Nations people and the Larrakia land and enjoys storytelling and performances by the Larrakia People and the Rirratjingu Dancers from North East Arnhem Land.


Sovereignty Day Lecture (Ngunnawal Country - Canberra)

Hosted by the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the Isabell Coe Memorial Lecture has been held annually since 2012.

It might seem odd to attend a lecture on January 26 but this poses as a way to learn more about the colonisation of Australia and hear thoughts on decolonising Australia.


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