26 January: Day of Mourning
January 26 in 1938 marked the 150th anniversary of Captain Arthur Phillip raising the British flag for the first time in Sydney Cove and taking formal possession of the colony of New South Wales.
For some this was a day to celebrate, for others a day to mourn. On that day a group of Aboriginal men and women gathered at Australia Hall in Sydney.
The participants at the first Day of Mourning came from across Australia to continue a struggle that had begun 150 years previously. They met to move the following resolution:
“WE, representing THE ABORIGINES OF AUSTRALIA, assembled in conference at the Australian Hall, Sydney, on the 26th day of January, 1938, this being the 150th Anniversary of the Whiteman’s seizure of our country, HEREBY MAKE PROTEST against the callous treatment of our people by the white men during the past 150 years, AND WE APPEAL to the Australian nation of today to make new laws for the education and care of Aborigines, we ask for a new policy which will raise our people TO FULL CITIZEN STATUS and EQUALITY WITHIN THE COMMUNITY.”
You can read more about our Commitment to Reconciliation here.