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Australia Day 2024

25 January 2024

Tomorrow, Australia Day, commemorates the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. However, for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it marks the beginning of systematic colonisation, dispossession, and infliction of suffering that continue to this day.
From an Aboriginal perspective, Australia Day represents:

  • The start of devastating land displacement and violence: colonisation, frontier conflict, massacres, and forced removal from ancestral lands.
  • Loss of sovereignty: Britain's claiming of Australia marked the start of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples losing their political autonomy and ability to exercise self-determination.
  • Destruction of culture and identity: colonisers banned native languages and cultural practices; children were removed from their families in the Stolen Generations.
  • Entrenched racism and inequality: from the very beginnings of colonisation, institutional racism burdened Aboriginal people with discrimination, segregation, and marginalisation.

For First Nations people, Australia Day as "holiday" represents historical wounds, not nationhood. Understanding this perspective is vital to reconciliation.
The trauma experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is profound. Mob, if you or those around you are experiencing mental distress this long weekend, support is available: click here for First Nations mental health resources.