The ABC has started theircoverage with a televised performance of the national anthem being sung in a local Aboriginal language – as the sails of the Opera House were lit up with indigenous art for the first time.
The WugulOra morning ceremony at Sydney’s Barangaroo Reserve was broadcast live on the ABC on Tuesday, culminating in the singing of Advance Australia Fair.
The anthem was first sung in the Eora Sydney language by Aboriginal vocal performance group the KARI singers, which was followed by the English version.
Before dawn the sails of the Sydney Opera House had been lit up with an artwork from artist Frances Belle-Parker, a Yaegl woman from Maclean, northern NSW.
Her design was to represent the oldest living culture in the world.
The KARI singers performed the Australian national anthem in the local Eora Sydney language at Barangaroo Reserve on Australia Day
The sails of the Sydney Opera House are lit up at dawn with an artwork titled ‘Angwirri,’ by NSW Indigenous artist and proud Yaegl woman Frances Belle-Parker on January 26
Shortly after first light, the Aboriginal flag was also raised alongside the Australian flag just across the water from the spectacular artwork on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
As the country prepares for heatwave conditions for the day, marches are planned in many capital cities to advocate abolishing Australia Day and demand justice for First Nations people.
In Melbourne, an Invasion Day rally will go ahead despite the city’s annual Australia Day parade being cancelled.
In Sydney, the NSW police minister has warned the thousands of people planning to march in protest that they face fines or imprisonment for violating COVID-19 public health orders.
Conservative lobby group Advance Australia said it planned to arrange for the words ‘Aus Day’ to be written in the sky above Sydney on Tuesday, to counter the ‘Invasion Day rally’.
The country has again been embroiled in the annual debate about whether Australia Day’s date should be changed or the name changed to Invasion Day.
As Australia woke up on January 26, the sun rose over the country’s most famous building the Sydney Opera House spectacularly lit up with artwork in recognition of First Nations people
The performance from the WugulOra morning ceremony was broadcast live on the ABC
The wording of the Australian anthem was recently changed to replace ‘for we are young and free’ to ‘for we are one and free’ to take account of the long Aboriginal history on the continent.
The Eora Nation is the name given to the 29 Aboriginal clans that collectively make up the indigenous population of the Sydney Metropolitan Area. The word Eora means ‘here’ or ‘from this place’.
WugulOra, meaning ‘One Mob’, was a ceremony on Australia Day to celebrate ‘the world’s oldest living culture through dance, music and language’.
The event honoured the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal people, and involved an ancient Smoking Ceremony, performances and talks from local Elders.
The ABC on Monday backed down on its policy of interchangeably using the terms ‘Australia Day’ and ‘Invasion Day’ after the government intervened,
The national broadcaster had published an online events guide using both terms to refer to the January 26 public holiday which commemorates the 1788 arrival in Sydney Cove of the First Fleet – a transportation of settlers, military, and convicts from Britain.
Indigenous performers hold a smoking ceremony as part of the WugulOra Morning Ceremony at Barangaroo Reserve during Australia Day in Sydney
Dawn on Australia Day in Sydney was greeted by the Opera House lit up with traditional Indigenous artwork (pictured)
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher attacked the use of the term by the taxpayer-funded national broadcaster.
‘The ABC online article is incorrect about Australia Day,’ he said on Monday.
‘The name of our national day is well understood and supported, and for the ABC to suggest otherwise – that in some way Invasion Day is interchangeable with Australia Day – is clearly wrong.’
Hours later, the ABC issued a defensive statement regarding its policy.
‘In light of some misreporting on this issue, to be abundantly clear: The ABC’s policy is to use the term Australia Day, as it always has,’ it said on Monday afternoon.
‘As the editorial advice states, other terms can be used when they are appropriate in certain contexts. This does not mean they are used interchangeably.’
The ABC defensively backed down from describing Australia Day as ‘Invasion Day’ following a complaint from the communications minister. The national broadcaster published an online events guide on Sunday interchangeably using a politically contentious term to describe the January 26 public holiday. Pictured is a 2020 protest
Communications Minister Paul Fletcher spoke out against this ABC article. ‘The ABC online article is incorrect about Australia Day,’ he said on Monday.
The ABC events guide on Sunday had described Australia Day as ‘a contentious day for many’ despite the national broadcaster’s style guide recommending Australia Day as a ‘default’ terminology.
The initial article, which has now been amended, was titled ‘Australia Day/Invasion Day 2021 events for Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart and Darwin’.
Indigenous Australians Minister Ken Wyatt, meanwhile, acknowledged January 26 was a painful date for many Australians, but argued the day was an opportunity to reflect on the nation’s story of reconciliation.
Meanwhile, Cricket Australia’s decision to drop references to ‘Australia Day’ while promoting Big Bash League games also drew debate, with politicians and commentators weighing in.
A day earlier on Monday singer Delta Goodrem and didgeridoo player William Barton (pictured) practiced for the Australia Day festivities to be held in front of Sydney’s iconic landmarks
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