Here’s Why We Won’t Be Recognising January 26th… And Why We’re Asking You To Do the Same
It’s a debate that we see start the country over once that clock ticks over in the new year. The day that, for a lot of us, we spend with our loved ones at the beach, hanging out near a BBQ or playing backyard cricket. But the reality is that for First Nations people, January 26th is a day of immense pain and mourning.
And we’ll admit that we have celebrated ‘Australia Day’ in the past, but in the last few years we’ve made a commitment to educate ourselves, be an ally and do better. We now know that this is not a day to celebrate.
We want to make some big, positive steps in the right direction with you guys, our amazing Creatives, so let’s learn together.
Gathering, Wattle, Seeds, Ocean Tales and School Days by Blakbird Designs and Pia Designs
Why Shouldn’t We Celebrate ‘Australia Day’?
Tradition, schmadition. Australia Day didn’t actually become an Australian-wide public holiday until 1994, and that date isn’t actually when the first fleet arrived in Botany Bay.
So why January 26th?
Well, there’s not a clear answer about this. It was the date that the British flag was raised after the arrival of the first fleet. In 1949, it was the date that the Nationality and Citizenship Ace 1948 came into effect, creating Australian citizenship and the conditions by which it could be acquired. But there are claims that this date was already a day of celebration prior to this. In Tasmania, ‘Foundation Day’ was celebrated from 1888, and then into Victoria and Western Australia from the early 1900s. In 1930, it was suggested by the Australian Natives’ Association that this be an annual ‘Australia Day’ celebration.
School Days by Pia Designs
Why is it a day of mourning and remembrance for First Nations people?
This day commemorates the loss of their sovereign rights to their land, a loss of family and the right to practice their culture. It signifies the start of colonial violence that included massacres and genocide, and it is something that is still being felt in the Aboriginal community to this day. Understandably, this is not cause for celebration. Australia is the only country in the world that puts so much weight behind the arrival of Europeans on its shores that it should signify the offical national day.
What are we really celebrating on January 26th?
The short answer is the invasion and colonisation of the country that is now called ‘Australia’ and the attempted genocide of First Nations people. It is a hurtful legacy that has been left behind.
What Should We Be Doing Instead?
Learn What Country You’re On
And acknowledge it! If you’re not sure what traditional Country you’re on, you can click here to find out.
Show Your Support
Attend a rally. There's a fantastic list of nationwide events here, so gather your friends and family members and how some support and listen. You can also pledge your support to not celebrate January 26th on this website.
There are so many resources available across various platforms where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people share their experiences and culture. There are innumerable things to appreciate about the oldest living culture in the world.
Celebration by Blakbird Designs, make by Simply Sunflowers
Part of being the change is talking to those around us about what you’re learning through this process. It won’t be easy, but these conversations are important. Remember, silence is compliance.
Lift up First Nations Voices
Every single day. Support businesses run by First Nations people, buy products designed and made by First Nations artists. Watch films and tv shows, listen to podcasts, read books. Follow game changers who are using their voices for good.
What Are We Doing?
We’re not celebrating or acknowledging January 26. We’re educating ourselves and using our knowledge to educate others. We’re collaborating with First Nations artists to bring their beautiful artworks to life on our fabrics, having conversations with them and striving to do better with being allies.
Summer Daze by Blakbird Designs, make by Lily Pad Cloth & Sew
We are white presenting women, born and raised in Aotearoa (New Zealand), who want to do and can do better.