• Protesters are seen during the Invasion Day rally on 26 January in Melbourne last year. (AAP)Source: AAP
With the pandemic affecting communities across the country, regular Invasion Day rallies scheduled for January 26 have had to adapt to the times, with some moving online.
By
Rachael Knowles

Source:
NITV News
21 Jan 2022 - 2:53 PM  UPDATED 24 Jan 2022 - 11:28 AM

With January 26 only days away - some capital cities are pushing forward with COVID-safe rallies and marches, while others are taking their events entirely online.

Boorloo/Perth

Boorloo’s Invasion Day rally is set to kick off at Forrest Place on Wednesday.

Organiser Marianne Headland MacKay told NITV News that in the face of Omicron spreading in Western Australia, the rally has implemented public health measures.

"We've got to let people know that there will be QR Codes, so they do need to Check-In,” she said.

"We'll place them on all the bollards and pillars around Forest Chase, we will also have extra that we carry in case people want to jump in on the march.”

The rally will see performers Natasha Eldridge, Delly Stokes, Flewnt, Jason Bropho and Jamahl Ryder take the stage. Ms Headland MacKay will be the opening speaker, and her 10-year-old daughter will also take the stage

"She's like a little mini-me, she's our sovereign baby. Our youth are our future,” said Ms Headland MacKay.

With the event attracting over 8,000 people last year, organiser and event speaker Megan Krakouer is expecting a larger turnout on Wednesday.

Ms Krakouer told NITV News the event will begin at midday, with the march starting at 2pm.

Thousands attend protest rally against Australia Day in Perth.
Thousands of Australians attend the Invasion Day rally in Perth.

Garramilla/Darwin

Larrakia founded and owned organisation Uprising of the People (UP) are not hosting an Invasion Day event in Garramilla this year. However, it has encouraged rest, noting “rest is resistance”.

Despite no formal event in the city, there is a community protest planned outside of Don Dale Youth Detention Centre at 10am to call for the facility’s closure.

Meanjin/Brisbane

Meanjin’s Invasion Day rally kicks off at 8am at Queen’s Garden in George Street, with the march moving through the city to Musgrave Park.

Hosted by the Yuggera Nation, the event will see speakers, performers and food stalls.

Organiser Sam Watson Jnr said that due to the virus, they expect smaller numbers for 2022.

“We are trying to do everything we can to be COVID conscious. We have masks, sanitiser, and QR codes for people to scan when they arrive,” he said.

“We're asking people to socially distance and manage COVID in other ways like avoiding public transport if they can and not heading to big gatherings before the march.”

Mr Watson notes that the Invasion Day Rally runs “pretty smoothly” every year thanks to the community pulling together. 

“There is a lot to do but the community really pulls together and pushes it over the finish line,” he said.

"It's a great opportunity to come together and yarn up about what is going on, we're still fighting to end deaths in custody, we're still fighting for land rights and we're battling COVID too - that's hit our communities hard."

Naarm/Melbourne

Despite planning an event, Naarm Invasion Day rally organisers Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR) have decided not to go ahead.

WAR said that they would not be hosting an event during the “height of a pandemic” and expressed concerns for the health of the Victorian Aboriginal community.

It is the first time since 2015 that the organisation will not be hosting the march.

The Victorian NAIDOC 2022 Invasion Day Dawn Service will be going ahead and can be accessed online.

Ngambri Ngunnawal/Canberra

January 26 marks the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, which occupies the lawns of now Old Parliament House. A symbol of Land Rights, Treaty and Sovereignty, the Tent Embassy will celebrate its 50th through a three-day conference.

Taking place on the 25th, 26th and 27th on a virtual platform, the Embassy will showcase exhibitions, panels, public speakers and entertainment.

The Embassy is also welcoming people to the site on January 26, to stand in solidarity.

Nipaluna/Hobart

In response to COVID, Lutruwita’s Invasion Day events will move online.

Organising group, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) is hosting the event via Facebook Live. Beginning at 11:45am, it will include a Welcome to Country, a one-minute silence to acknowledge Aboriginal lives lost during invasion, a dance ceremony and various speakers.

People taking the stage include 2021 Australian of the Year Grace Tame, activists Uncle Jimmy Everett and Rodney Gibbins and Secretary of Unions Tasmania’s Jessica Munday.

Whilst some of the sessions will be pre-recorded, TAC will be streaming live from piyura kitina.

TAC Campaign Manager, Nala Mansell told NITV that the support of Invasion Day events has increased each year.

“We’ve seen the momentum and the support rallying each here in Lutruwita, About 10 years ago the street march started in Launceston with about 200 people attending, last year we saw over 4,000,” she said.

“There’s a lot of support out there to highlight the offensiveness of the Australia Day celebrations and to call for the date to be changed.

“We think it’s really important that we provide that platform for people who are just as passionate about changing the date of Invasion Day as we are.”

Ms Mansell encourages people not only from Lutruwita to join but also from the mainland.

Tarndanya/Adelaide

Tarndanya’s Invasion Day rally kicks off with an Opening Ceremony at Victoria Square/Tarntanyangga at 12:30pm.

At 1pm the crowd will march before gathering for speakers and performers.

Organisers have worked with SA Health and Adelaide City Council to ensure public safety at the event. QR codes will be used at the rally, with social distancing and other public health measures encouraged.

Warrang/Sydney

Warrang’s Invasion Day rally will begin at Town Hall at 10am, before a silent march to the historic Day of Mourning site on Elizabeth Street. From there the crowds will march to Yabun Festival in Victoria Park.

The event will see an array of activists and speakers take the microphone, with special acknowledgement paid to the 50th anniversary of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy.

Due to the rates of COVID-19 in New South Wales, rally organisers have requested the use of face masks and social distancing. They have asked that those who are unwell or have flu-like symptoms remain at home.

EXPLAINER: Day of Mourning, the birth of modern First Nations protest
150 years of resistance led to the first Day of Mourning in 1938. It was a momentous occasion, and it formed the basis for First Nations political movements that still exist today.