For non-Indigenous Australians, January 26 has in recent years been celebrated as “Australia Day”; for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, it’s Invasion Day — a day of mourning, survival and protest. The date has become a day of grieving what the tall ships from England brought with them — death, suffering, and the beginning of what’s now over two centuries of injustice and dispossession to First Nations people.
Being a good ally to Indigenous Australians is about more than talking the talk; you need to walk the walk. This means you need to take action, too. But on January 26 this could be very literal — by walking in an Invasion Day protest.
If you’re still a bit unsure why many people want Australia Day to be shifted from January 26, this excerpt from Crystal Andrews‘ book written in consultation with Tiddas 4 Tiddas founder Marlee Silva goes over the importance of recognising Australia’s long Indigenous history, including the colonisation of the land after English explorers first entered Gadigal land over 250 years ago.
Thousands of people mark January 26 as a day to mourn those who have passed and hold protests and demonstrations to fight for Indigenous rights.
Just about every major capital city holds rallies and gatherings to call for action on things such as transparency around Indigenous deaths in custody, the inclusion of First Nations people in the Australian constitution and changing the date of Australia Day from January 26.
So here is a list of gatherings, protests, demonstrations, rallies, and marches on Wednesday, January 26, for you to go to and stand in solidarity with First Nations people across the mainland and our surrounding islands.
As always, if you feel unwell on the day, please stay home and support by paying the rent and participating online instead.
For those who want to stay home and away from the crowds, NITV has a full day of excellent programming lined up for January 26, kicking off with a live Sunrise Ceremony on Bundjalung and Yugambeh Country in Coolangatta, QLD — presented by John Paul Janke and Narelda Jacobs and simulcast on Channel 10 — followed by rolling coverage of all the protests and rallies across the country by NITV News.
Invasion Day 2023 Protests & Gatherings
Where to attend: Warrang / Sydney
Meet at 9.30am at Belmore Park, before a march around the Sydney CBD.
Protesters are asked to maintain social distancing throughout the protest and to please stay home if they’re feeling unwell.
Yabun Festival is the largest one-day gathering and recognition of First Nations people in Australia.
We Are Warriors will be celebrating Blak excellence at the Powerhouse Museum with a night of music, art, film and dance.
You can get free tickets here.
Where to attend: Naarm / Melbourne
A dawn Service will be held at 5am at Kings Domain Resting Place, Linlithgow Avenue.
This will be followed by the Invasion Day Rally at 11am at the Victorian Parliament in which you will march to Flinders St Station.
Rain, hail or shine the Share the Spirit Festival at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl will be happening.
2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the festival and this year’s theme is “Continuum: Those Who Tell Their Story in Song”.
Where to attend: Tandanya / Adelaide
Following a free, ticketed “Mourning In The Morning” smoking ceremony at Elder Park/Tarntanya Wama at 7am, this year’s Survival Day March is happening at Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga at 12:30am.
Where to attend: Boorloo / Perth
An Invasion Day rally is currently planned for Forrest Chase, on Wellington Street in Boorloo (Perth), from 12pm, with attendees asked to keep things COVID-safe.
The City of Perth will hold its annual Birak Concert again this year, filled with incredible First Nations entertainment. Including Red Ochre Band, Pipeline and Phil Walleystack.
Where to attend: Meeanjin / Brisbane
Kicking off at 8am at Queens Gardens for sign making, the march begins at around 10am and will finish at Musgrave Park. Local businesses will also have a pop-up mini-market across the event locations.
Protesters are required to stay home if they’re feeling unwell.
Where to attend: Ngunnawal Country / Canberra
2023 marks the 51st year of the Tent Embassy, which has occupied the lawns of Old Parliament House since 26th January, 1972 and is now one of the longest continuing protest sites in the world.
Around 500 registered delegates are expected to be on the ground at the Tent Embassy between January 25-27, with an Invasion Day march going from the Embassy to Parliament House from 10am on the 26th.
While the march is free to attend, organisers are asking people to register online before the march as they’re expecting up to 7000 people to show up on the 26th.
Where to attend: Larrakia Country / Darwin
Starting at 7:50am the Larrakia People will hold a Smoking Ceremony with storytelling and performances by local Indigenous performers.
Where to attend: nipaluna / Hobart
Meet at 10:45am at Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, before a 10:50am street march.
This will be followed by a 12pm rally at Parliament Lawns.