January 26: what’s been happening around the divided country today

“Australians have always demonstrated our ability to overcome” said Australian Prime Minster Scott Morrison on a January 26 divided.

At this morning’s national flag raising and citizenship ceremony, Australia’s leader spoke of collective resilience. Yet Scott Morrison’s call to unite, on a day of incredible division for the Australian people, has been reflected in the dichotomous events happening around the country this particular January 26.

“Today on Australia Day, we reflect on that journey. The price that has been made for our freedom. The lessons of our history. And the privilege of being able to call ourselves Australians. We do it on this day when the course of this land changed forever.” 

With Invasion Day and Survival Day rallies in every capital city, his morning speech was a tough pill to swallow for many.

Invasion day January 26 australia day 2021
Photo: BBC News

Sydney: The WugualOra Morning Ceremony

This morning on the Headland Stage at Barangaroo Reserve, The WugulOra (meaning OneMob) Morning Ceremony was held. The ancient Smoke Ceremony is a cleansing ritual to pave the way for new beginnings through movement and music.

The performance included both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and celebrates the passing on of cultural and acknowledges shared history. The event was live streamed on the ABC, which you can still watch below:

Sydney: The Domain and Hyde Park Invasion Day Rally

In Sydney, on Djarrbarrgalli (The Domain) at least four arrests were made by police following peaceful Invasion Day protesting.

Despite overwhelming reports that crowds were complying to social distancing and were masked up, the march was then called off after fears spread that cops would “incite a riot”.

Melbourne: Bourke & Flinders Street Invasion Day Rally

Speeches at Melbourne Parliament House were followed by groups of 100 marchers at a time travelling down Bourke Street. COVID-safe rules were also enforced over crowds by the first speaker of the day and indigenous leader Uncle Bill Nicholson, who said:

“One strong aspect of our culture is respect and respect earned.”

It was reported that a man dressed in an Australia flag was surrounded by police in scene of chaos near Flinders Street.

Canberra: Aboriginal Tent Embassy Survival Day Rally

Whilst PM Scott Morrison argued that as January 26th marks exactly the day the nation’s fate changed forever (and thus should remain poignant), Indigenous speaker Julie Brown defended the opposite.

Elders addressed the group stating why this day of mourning is a not a day to be celebrated. Crowds that met at the Aboriginal Ten Embassy marched up the hill to Parliament House chanting “always was, always will be, Aboriginal land”.

As rallies continue across the country, the call for justice rings clear in the solidarity shown by many.

Social media was awash with clever, informative and powerful posts. And Twitter, a battleground as per usual, has recorded some interesting trends on the leader board:


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