Invasion Day and Australia Day 2010

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Yesterday was both Invasion Day and Australia Day.

What does this mean? Some say its all about white guys that BBQ cows and drink beer all day in the sun with their mates while others call it the celebration of a day when representatives of the British Government and Monarchy claiming the entire continent of Australia as their own.

I didn’t have much on so I googled “Australia Day Brisbane” and saw that there was a raising of the flag ceremony at South Bank 11am so I grabbed my camera and off I went.

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From “Flag Raising Ceremony Australia Day 2010 |” :

This ceremony will have all of Brisbane looking skyward, with a spectacularly loud flyover of the F-111 jet, matched with a 21 gun salute.

From 11am see the Australian Defence Force Triservice Honour Guard and hear the Royal Australian Artillery Band – Brisbane playing. Be there for the raising of the Australian, Queensland, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

It was all very formal and you had to be there to hear all the speakers.

As the flags were going up the invasion day protesters came over the Victoria bridge in the distance. It was as if the confusion in my head was being played out visually in front of my eyes. I’ve learnt many things about indigenous Australian culture before and met some of the local Murri people. Some people have said to me oh yeah the people from the Murry river or think Im mis-pronouncing the word Maori but in any case make sure to read the Murri people Wikipedia article if you dont know what Murri people means.

Bored of being stuck behind a barrier while some media and privileged people prance around in front of me, I decided to join this march and see what it was all about.

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I’m not up to speed on a lot of politics so I described this photo as “Important Lady finishes her talk, canons in background at Raising of the flag ceremony. Australia Day” and this photo as “Powerful speaker man, Indigenous Australian protesters marching pt4”. I would say that you should have heard some of the strong things they were saying/chanting but I can show you. I made this video that you can watch on youtube. You can also watch it below.

Its a shame I was so slow with my camera, at 4:13 you see them dancing, behind me were roughly 15 police, some on motorbikes and some standing there in a way blocking entry to South Bank, just before that he was making more strong statements then in my memory he says “Corroboree!!” and the guys break into music and dance, I thought that was amazing. The march finished at Musgrave park where a rage against racism concert was held.

Its a confusing issue to me, you have many non-indigenous people supporting invasion day protests and you have many indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people celebrating Australia day. I also think many individuals are just happy to have the day off work to relax and enjoy a day with friends and family. I hope all of us can come together and celebrate life, I don’t know the answer but I hope we can have a holiday for this purpose maybe something like independence day.

What do you think, Should they change Australia Day to a different date?

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  1. woah nice qual on the video, sound too
    haha looks pretty intense the march, sounds like a fun day

  2. Great blog post Chris, I really enjoyed seeing the people demonstrating and the strength of their passion.

  3. as someone involved in the march that day i find it intriguing to se a bit of the “other” perspective. it’s great that you joined us and found what was happening inspirational and powerful. myself and a friend did a radio show on the same topic, you can find it here

  4. I hope this helps with your confusion Chris, the issue is racism – which probably first started for indigenous people with the first fleet and British immigration. So many people don’t realise how rampant racism is.  You know that Indian take-away on Vulture St, West End, they’ve asked Dawn to wait outside for her food three times now and when she and Bev went to Aldi at Chermside a woman who was shopping saw Dawn walking toward the freezer she was standing near and loudly asked her son to go and stand beside their trolley as she’d left her handbag in it. One Friday night a group of us went out and we were asked to leave every pub we went to because Rachel was with us. The only place we got into was a gay bar. Last weekend I was saying to Bev that I’ve even noticed racism when I’ve been out with Jenny, I hope Spencer never has to deal with it. As a child I was often called froggy!!!

  5. while i will respect all peoples views but there are thoes of you out there who call Australia day a day of racism without realising we who do enjoy and take pride in Australia day find it to be quite racist.
    If Indigenous people or any people for that matter wish to take no part in Australia day then i ask you why you make such a huge deal out of it and at times ruin it for many of us who do celebrate on this day. If you find Australia day to be racist then thats your view your opinion and thats fair but that gives you no right to ruin it for us.
    One other thing that does really in a sense “sink my boat ” is that many people out there fail to see the true meaning of Australia day, Its not just about the first settlers, its about everything that is Australian past and present. Its about everything our great people have accomplished past and present and Australia day is the best fitting day to celebrate this because it marks the first step that went into building this great land we all love today.
    Why is it that the people who are  protesting focus only on the bad and never the good. Do they fail or just plan dont want to see the good this day means. And what they chant in no way helps there cause because its quite racist.

  6. i think, that Australia day should remain the same date, but people have to respect that this was the day were aborginals lost everythinig. and it is quite disrespectful and disgusting

  7. Perhaps some people are truly this ignorant, but I am sure living in Australia and being reasonably educated affords people with a certain amount of knowledge and historical information about the disgraceful treatment and oppression shown to Aboriginal people. I do find it a concern that January 26th is seen as a day of celebration. If real change had taken place since 1788  in Australia in regards to the treatment of Aboriginal people then I am sure that demonstrations would not be needed. Surely the fact that so many still feel so strongly should indicate the need for change or at least some respect given to the disgraceful and illegal actions toward them, and the racism which clearly still exists. Even during the 1970’s Aboriginal children were still being taken from their families in some bizarre cleansing /white purity exercise, genocide essentially. So ‘whatever’ perhaps you enjoying your day of celebration is that important but perhaps educating yourself might be a better way to spend January 26th, or at least showing an ounce of empathic understanding for those who still feel so wounded.

  8. Two sides to every story. Yes, celebrate Australia Day and all that it stands for, but not on the 26th as this is not a happy day for many of our citizens. It is indeed “Invasion Day’. But history and the holidays are written by the winners.
    Make Australia a Republic and create a new Australia Day … which should be a floater, always on a Monday, perhaps the first Monday in Feburary so we always get a long weekend in keeping with our fine tradition of holidaying. Me, I’m off to mow the lawn. Another Australian fine tradition.

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