The number of people attending the dawn service on the 26th of January to remember the devastating impacts of settlement on the Goulburn Valley’s First Nations people,
This day on country continues to grow, with around 150 people attending the event in Mooroopna early on January 26th of January 2023.
Held at Kaieltheban Park on the banks of the Goulburn River, or Kaiela as it is known by Yorta Yorta people, the event featured a range of local First Nations singers, dancers, and Elders of the Yorta Yorta nation.
The ceremony was led by Yorta Yorta man Neil Morris, who said the gathering acknowledged the strength of First Nations people to find their rightful place despite the impacts of colonisation and the Frontier Wars.
“When these things began to unfold the impacts were severe and devastating when they first took place and now impacted on every single Indigenous person to this day across the broader landmass of this sacred continent.”
Elder Aunty Sharon Jones told non-Aboriginal people in the crowd that she hoped they felt safe and welcome on Yorta Yorta land and reminded all that Indigenous Australians had been protesting the date longer than it had been a national holiday.
“This day was the beginning of an invasion that practiced ethnic cleansing of our people,” she said.
“Eighty-five years today was when Elders stood at the front of the Parliament House and protested that January 26 should not be celebrated, and (instead) declared a day of mourning for First Nations people.
Lest We Forget.❤️💛🖤