Survival Day – 26 January
- 26 January 2019 - 27 January 2019
We recognise the unique status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Background: January 26, 1788 was the date on which Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales on behalf of the Crown, and raised the British flag for the first time in Sydney Cove. In the early 1880s the day was known as ‘First Landing’, ‘Anniversary Day’ or ‘Foundation Day’. The day became a public holiday in the colony of New South Wales in 1818 (its 30th anniversary). In 1946 the Commonwealth and state governments agreed to unify the celebrations on January 26 and call it ‘Australia Day’.
In 1994 the day was proclaimed a national public holiday and since then has been celebrated in all states and territories. However, to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people there is little to celebrate and the day is a commemoration of a deep loss - loss of their sovereign rights to their land, loss of family, loss of the right to practise their culture. The day is therefore also known as ‘Invasion Day’, ‘Day of Mourning’, ‘Survival Day’ or, since 2006, ‘Aboriginal Sovereignty Day’.
The name Survival Day emphasises that Aboriginal culture is still strong, and that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s identities are positive and alive despite all that has happened since colonisation. Survival Day has become one of the biggest Indigenous cultural events that is staged throughout Australia. In all major cities alternative concerts are held where mainly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people gather.
There are various Survival Day events around the State and around Australia.