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Books to learn about the 26th of January

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The 26th of January is perhaps the most contentious date in the calendar year. For Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander peoples this date is known as Invasion Day, Survival Day, Aboriginal Sovereignty Day and Day of Mourning.

Some facts to consider:

  • Australia Day has only celebrated nationally since 1994.
  • On the 26th January 1938 Aboriginal people protested against Australia Day and called it Day of Mourning.
  • The Tent Embassy on the grounds of Old Parliament House in Canberra began on 26th January 1972.
  • To mark the 200th anniversary of Invasion in 1988, 40 000 Aboriginal people and their supporters marched over the Harbour Bridge. It was the largest protest since the 1970s
  • The Aboriginal flag was flown for the first time next to the Australian Flag on the 26th January 2013

Early Childhood Australia made a statement about Australia Day Celebrations in their publication “The Spoke” in 2018 “ECA stands alongside Reconciliation Australia in their call to change the date of Australia Day, and agrees with Chief Executive Karen Mundine that ‘a relatively small task’ would ‘demonstrate a willingness to address past wrongs’ and move to a stronger, more respectful relationship in the future.”

Read more here: Australia Day—it’s time to change - The Spoke – Early Childhood Australia's Blog


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As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reckon with our history. On January 26, no Australian can really look away. There are the hard questions we ask of ourselves on Australia Day.

Since publishing his critically acclaimed, Walkley Award-winning, bestselling memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history and the Australian dream. But Stan knows this is not where the story ends.

In this book, Australia Day, his long-awaited follow up to Talking to My Country, Stan talks about reconciliation and the indigenous struggle for belonging and identity in Australia, and about what it means to be Australian. A sad, wise, beautiful, reflective and troubled book, Australia Day asks the questions that have to be asked, that no else seems to be asking. Who are we? What is our country? How do we move forward from here?

Day Break is the story of a family making their way back to Country on January 26. We see the strength they draw from being together, and from sharing stories as they move through a shifting landscape.

The story refocuses the narratives around ‘Australia Day’ on Indigenous survival and resistance, and in doing so honours the past while looking to the future. Confronting yet truthful, painful yet full of hope, Day Break is a crucial story that will open up a conversation on truth-telling for the next generation.

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