In recent years, January 26 has increasingly become a day of reflection and mourning for First Nations people as more and more people turn towards celebrating and acknowledging the oldest living culture on Earth, while increasingly turning their backs on ‘Australia’ Day. So much so, even the official ‘Australia’ Day festivities are incorporating First Nations culture into their programs.
My support for First Nations justice, as well as reconciliation, treaty and truth telling, is well known – having provided coverage for several actions and rallies over the years. I’ve also long encouraged people to Pay The Rent (and do so myself).
There’s plenty of Indigenous led activities, including Invasion Day rallies, in each of the capital cities as well as in some regional centres. These are listed below.
Note that this list will be updated as more events become known.
After taking a year off in 2022 thanks to COVID-19, Invasion Day rallies are back in 2023. Prior to this, Invasion Day rallies in Naarm had grown to tens of thousands of attendees, even far exceeding the number of attendees at the official ‘Australia’ Day events which have generally taken place at the same time.
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, as always, have called this year’s rally, which will be starting at 11am at the front of the Victorian Parliament.
Share the Spirit will also be playing at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, with start time to be confirmed.
A dawn service event for the early morning (5am) of January 26 has been organised and will be hosted by Victorian NAIDOC. It’ll take place at Kings Domain Gardens, Lithgow Avenue.
Over on Boonwurrung Land (Mornington Peninsula), Our Survival Day, a family-friendly for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander people and allies will take place starting at 12noon.
In the west, on Wurrundjeri Land, Kertbooruc (Williamstown Beach) will be the Invasion Day Swim starting at 8am.
Djilang (Geelong) – Wadawurrung Land
The Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op, supported by the local council, will host a community event to commemorate Survival Day. The event will begin with a Welcome to Country at 9am at 62 Morgan Street, North Geelong.
Nearby, in Torquay, starting at 5.30am, the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners will be hosting a Pilk Purriyn (meaning “sunrise” in the Wadawurrung language) truth telling event. It’ll be held at Cosy Corner Beach, 1 The Esplanade Torquay.
Ballarat – Wadawurrung Land
The Ballarat Koorie Engagement Action Group, supported by the Ballarat City Council, will host a Survival Day Dawn Ceremony starting at 5.30am at View Point, Lake Wendouree.
Invasion Day protests in Meanjin have also drawn thousands of people in recent years. Like in Naarm, the Meanjin events are organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, with the 2023 rally to take place from Queens Gardens starting at 11am local time.
In the morning, from 7.30am – 10am will be the Annual Survival Day Ceremony, which will be held at Simpsons PlayGround Reserve
225 Graceville Ave, Graceville.
Gubbi Gubbi Land – Maroochydore
The Sunshine Coast First Nations Community Forum will play host to Invasion Day – We Have Survived! The annual march will kick off at Federation Square and will walk down to Cotton Tree Park, where speeches will be held.
Toowoomba – Jagera, Giabal, and Jarowair Land
In Toowoomba will be the Invasion Day / Survival Day / Aboriginal Sovereignty Day. See here for details.
Warrane/Eora (Sydney) – Gadigal Land
This continent’s most populous city isn’t particularly renown for having a protest-friendly culture, but that still hasn’t stopped thousands of people hitting the streets on January 26 in recent years.
Yabun Festival, the “largest one-day gathering and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia” will be held at Victoria Park.
A Community Day at Campbeltown Arts Centre, in association with Sydney WorldPride featuring ‘Embracing Shadows’, the survey exhibition by Lismore-based Wiradjuri artist Karla Dickens, will begin from 10am.
Dawn reflection events will also be taking place. 5:20 – 5:50am, as the sun is rising, the artwork of Kamilaroi artist Rhonda Sampson will projected onto the Sydney Opera House. Sampson’s work will conjure up the history of Tubowgule, the site that the Opera House now stands on. The WugulOra Morning Ceremony (meaning ‘One Mob’) will also be held on the Walumil lawns at Barangaroo Reserve from 7.30am to 8.30am.
Lastly, end the day with the Survival Day Official Afterparty. This is a paid event and tickets are limited. It’ll be hosted at THE OX, starting at 8pm.
Awabakal and Woirimi Land (Newcastle)
Justice Aunties and Tracey Hanshaw will host a Day of Mourning, in its fourth year. The event will be held at Customs House Fountain, 1 Bond St, Newcastle, starting at 10am, before walking up to Nobbys Beach along Wharf Rd starting at 11.30am.
Wiradjuri Land (Griffith)
GLALC Survival Day on Wiradjuri Country will take place at the Griffith Aquatic and Leisure Centre from 11am. Hosted by the Griffith Local Aboriginal Land Council in partnership with NSWALC and the Griffith City Council.
Bermagui – Djiringanj Land
Bermagui Survival Day will be held at Dickinson Oval, starting at 11am.
Woolongong – Dharawal Land
Gilmore Park Bushcare will be hosting Invasion Day Bushcare at Gilmore Park from 9am.
Woronora – Dharawal Land
Burnum Burnum Sanctuary, Woronora will host the Sunset Cultural Ceremony, 5pm-8pm. Presented by local Aboriginal Elders, and featuring traditional dance, music, yarning circle, workshops, art stalls and displays by local community leader
Boorloo invasion day protests have drawn good numbers in recent years as well. The 2023 event is scheduled to begin at 3pm local time, at Forest Chase in the CBD.
Also in the afternoon will be the Birak Concert. Hosted by Aboriginal Shows and Productions, the event runs from 3pm to 7.30pm and is the perfect opportunity to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
If being in a music video is on your bucket list, hip hop artist FLEWNT is asking for people to participate in the filmning of his music video for Hell No!. 7pm at Lagley Park.
Rubibi (Broome) – Yawuru Land
The Gimme Club will host Rubini Survival Day, starting at 2.30pm and running until late. The event will be filled with family friendly, Indigenous performances from the region’s leading established and emerging artists.
Tarndanyangga will have a Survival Day march, called by the South Australian First Nations Death In Custody Watch Committee and Natasha Wanganeen, lead actress in Rabbit Proof Fence. It’ll start at Victoria Square from 12noon.
Nipaluna’s Invasion Day event, hosted by the Tasmanian Aborigonal Centre, will start with a gathering and march at 10.45am, at198 Elizabeth Street, with a rally at Parliament Lawns starting at 11.45am.
Limilinaturi (Devonport) – Lutruwita Land
The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre has organised a rally and march. The march will begin from Tulaminakali Health Service, 106 Best Street, Devonport at 11.30am, with the rally gathering at in Market Square (behind Paranaple Centre) for a 12pm start.
Ngunnawal Land (Canberra)
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy will host the annual Sovereignty Day lecture held in honour of the memory of dedicated Wiradjuri activist Isabel Coe. See here for details.
Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows top a collaborative line up of stellar First Nations and German artists in Australia in Harmonie. Starting at 4.30pm, in The Zeppelin Room at Harmonie German Club, 49 Jerrabomberra Avenue Narrabundah.
On a final note: it’s certainly pleasing to see recognition and celebration of First Nations culture is becoming more mainstream.