(Melbourne, Australia) Jack Latimore, Goori journalist and researcher, asked me to document this year’s Invasion Day march. It was a loud, proud, vibrant and inclusive affair – from Victoria’s Parliament House along Bourke St, down Swantson St to a rallying point in front of Flinders Street Station. It was an incredible display of community sentiment, literally a sea of faces in all directions. Words and pictures were originally published in the Feb 8 edition of the Koori Mail.
January 26, 2017
Over 15,000 supporters walked with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during Melbourne’s Invasion Day 2017 rally, with crowd numbers peaking for a sit-in at one of the city’s busiest intersections for close to two hours.
After gathering in front of Victoria’s Parliament House on Spring Street to hear speeches delivered by Indigenous Elders and young activists, numbers swelled as the rally marched down Bourke Street and then Swanston Street, before culminating opposite the main entrance of Flinders Street train station.
The record crowd numbers for an Invasion Day rally saw the march overshadow the official City of Melbourne Australia Day parade down Swanston Street. There were also more new faces taking centre stage than in previous years, with organisers Celeste Liddle and Eugenia Flynn being joined by actor Shireena Clanton, and the likes of 19-year-old Yarramun Conole, 16-year-old Aretha Brown, and 20-year-old Will Austin.
After the sit-in, many people made their way to Treasury Gardens at the eastern end of Melbourne’s city centre for Songline’s annual Share the Spirit festival, where a large crowd enjoyed performances from legendary Aboriginal band No Fixed Address and Mutti Muti singer-songwriter Kutcha Edwards.
Jack writes for Koori Mail, IndigenousX, Guardian Australia, Overland, and others. Currently a PhD candidate at University of Melbourne. He tweets as @LatimoreJack