Reflecting on Survival Day (January 26th) and looking ahead to 2022

There is growing awareness amongst Australians of the significance of celebrating our national holiday on a date that marks the start of European colonisation on these ancient, unceded lands. Rather than a date to celebrate, for First Nations people this is a day of sadness and mourning. The landing of British settlers in 1788 marks the start of centuries of loss and violence enacted against First Nations Peoples. This date also stands to acknowledge their resilience, resistance and strength despite all that has been taken. Throughout the country, communities are finding ways to recognise the true significance of this date and to come together for truth telling and healing. We hope that by sharing these emotional and powerful spaces together, we can also find ways to move forward together. We know our members were deeply moved by the dawn ceremony hosted by the Ballarat Koori Engagement Action Group (livestream recording available here).

Now is also an opportunity to look ahead toward other important dates that help us reflect, talk and act in the spirit of reconciliation. This year’s NAIDOC week theme – officially celebrated in July – is “Get Up, Show Up, Stand Up”. It encourages all of us to champion institutional, structural, collaborative, and cooperative change while celebrating those who have already driven and led change in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over generations. 

What will you do this year to participate? How will you get up, show up and stand up? 

Key dates and events for 2022 

13 FebruaryNational Apology Day: Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations in 2008.
17 MarchOn National Close the Gap Day organisations come together to improve the health of First Nations people. Close the Gap day is an opportunity for organisations and communities to hold events and raise awareness of the health crisis facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
26 MayNational Sorry Day is a day to remember the removal of First Nations children from their families. This day offers all Australians the time to acknowledge the suffering thousands of First Nations people experienced as a result of these government policies. The children affected are now known as the Stolen Generations.
27 May – 3 JuneNational Reconciliation Week. Theme to be announced.
3 – 10 JulyNAIDOC Week. NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This year’s theme is “Get Up, Show Up, Stand Up”.
4 AugustNational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day is a time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities and all Australians, celebrate the strengths and culture of our children. 
9 August International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples
1 SeptemberIndigenous Literacy Day. This year’s theme is Celebrating Stories and Language.
* for a more detailed list and historical timelines, please also see here

Update on Dyurrite Assessments

As we have shared previously, Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BGLC) has invited GWRN to support the recreational use assessments at Dyurrite (Mt Arapiles) following the completion of cultural heritage surveys. Site visits for this work have recently commenced. GWRN members have been accompanying BGLC and Parks Victoria staff to attend sites throughout the park. In line with the recent update from Parks Victoria, we anticipate these visits will be ongoing over the next six months. GWRN’s role is to provide BGLC with objective information about climbing practices and how they intersect with cultural values. This information will assist BGLC to make decisions about how best to manage overlapping values.

On a practical level, visitors to Dyurrite may observe GWRN members in areas that are currently closed to climbing activities. We wish to reiterate that all currently closed areas remain closed to climbing. GWRN members will only be in these locations with the permission of BGLC and for the purposes of undertaking activities related to requests for information.

We continue to be grateful to the climbing community for their ongoing respect for the current closures and for their support whilst this work is being undertaken.