News, Culture & Society

Tale of two Australia Days as million hit beach and have BBQs while angry protestors take to streets

Australia Day should be the day the country comes together in celebration – but on Wednesday, it was a nation divided by pride and prejudice.

While millions of proud Aussies hit the coast and had fun in the sun with traditional BBQs and backyard cricket, others took to the streets demanding the day be axed.

Beaches up and down the country were filled with happy flag-waving Aussies as millions embraced the spirit of Australia Day in the brilliant summer sunshine.

Hundreds more pledged their allegiance to the Southern Cross as they became new citizens at emotional and unforgettable Australia Day citizenship ceremonies.

But while some Aussies chose to celebrate in the sun, others protested over the apparent prejudice of the date itself.

The spirit of Australia was on display on the Gold Coast for Australia Day (pictured, revellers at Wave Break Island)

Millions hit the beach to celebrate Australia Day in typical Aussie style (picture, beachgoers at Sydney's Coogee Beach)

Millions hit the beach to celebrate Australia Day in typical Aussie style (picture, beachgoers at Sydney’s Coogee Beach)

Beer, BBQs and bikinis were essential for many enjoying the day by the seaside (pictured, piggyback beachgoers at Coogee in Sydney)

Beer, BBQs and bikinis were essential for many enjoying the day by the seaside (pictured, piggyback beachgoers at Coogee in Sydney)

Australia Day should be the day the country comes together in celebration - but on Wednesday, it was a nation divided by pride and prejudice.

Australia Day should be the day the country comes together in celebration – but on Wednesday, it was a nation divided by pride and prejudice.

For many Australia meant just one thing - a day at the beach with mates (pictured, pals enjoy the sun at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast)

For many Australia meant just one thing – a day at the beach with mates (pictured, pals enjoy the sun at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast)

Many took the chance to show their true colours as they flew the flag for Australia Day (pictured, a proud Aussie at Sydney's Coogee Beach)

Many took the chance to show their true colours as they flew the flag for Australia Day (pictured, a proud Aussie at Sydney’s Coogee Beach)

An Aussie flag was the essential beach accessory at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast (pictured)

An Aussie flag was the essential beach accessory at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast (pictured)

While millions of proud Aussies hit the coast and had fun in the sun with traditional BBQs and backyard cricket, others took to the streets demanding the day be axed.

While millions of proud Aussies hit the coast and had fun in the sun with traditional BBQs and backyard cricket, others took to the streets demanding the day be axed.

Coogee Beach in Sydney was packed on Australia Day (pictured)

Coogee Beach in Sydney was packed on Australia Day (pictured)

The traditional celebration of the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 was marked by a sensational aerobatics display by the RAAF’s newest fighter, the F35A Lightning II, which lit up the skies over Sydney.

The RAAF stepped in with the deafening but spectacular airshow after Qantas and other airlines declined to do the traditional city centre flyover.

Instead the crowds were treated to the breathtaking display by the RAAF which said it was ‘proud to participate in Australia Day 2022 events’.

A statement added: ‘Australia Day is held annually on January 26 to reflect on our nation’s past and celebrate the Australian spirit, mateship and sense of community.’ 

Once the rain stopped in Brisbane, activists danced in the street during the Invasion Day rally

Once the rain stopped in Brisbane, activists danced in the street during the Invasion Day rally

Town Hall in Sydney's CBD had people in every direction keen to take part in the Invasion Day protest

Town Hall in Sydney’s CBD had people in every direction keen to take part in the Invasion Day protest

Protestors in Sydney (pictured) made their way from Town Hall to Victoria Park on Wednesday

Protestors in Sydney (pictured) made their way from Town Hall to Victoria Park on Wednesday

In Brisbane, rain failed to dampen the spirits of those who attended the Invasion Day rally

In Brisbane, rain failed to dampen the spirits of those who attended the Invasion Day rally

Elsewhere though thousands of grim-faced demonstrators gathered in capital cities across Australia to march through the streets calling for Australia Day to be ditched.

Sydney’s CBD was brimming with thousands of activists, while plenty of protestors ignored rain in Brisbane to attend an Invasion Day rally.   

A speaker at the rally in the Harbour City told the passionate crowd now was the opportune time to change the date of Australia Day from January 26.

‘Today’s a national holiday where you’re told to go and have a bbq and a beer…. to celebrate our genocide,’ she said.

Crowds flocked to have fun in the sun at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast on Australia Day (pictured)

Crowds flocked to have fun in the sun at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast on Australia Day (pictured)

Freinds and family took the chance to put the last two years of Covid behind them and enjoy Australia Day together (pictured, friends meet up at Sydney's Coogee Beach)

Freinds and family took the chance to put the last two years of Covid behind them and enjoy Australia Day together (pictured, friends meet up at Sydney’s Coogee Beach)

For others it was a good chance top top up the tan and catch up on he gossip (pictured, sunworshippers soak up the sun at Sydney's Coogee Beach)

For others it was a good chance top top up the tan and catch up on he gossip (pictured, sunworshippers soak up the sun at Sydney’s Coogee Beach)

Barely a Southern Cross flag in sight - but still unmistakably Australian! (Pictured, an Australia Day beachgoer in his budgie smugglers at Sydney's Coogee Beach)

Barely a Southern Cross flag in sight – but still unmistakably Australian! (Pictured, an Australia Day beachgoer in his budgie smugglers at Sydney’s Coogee Beach)

Australia Day revellers at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast were fighting for the right to party (pictured)

Australia Day revellers at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast were fighting for the right to party (pictured)

Many were keen to fly the flag for Australia Day, while also using it as a windbreak (pictured)

Many were keen to fly the flag for Australia Day, while also using it as a windbreak (pictured)

Beaches up and down the country were filled with happy flag-waving Aussies (pictured) as millions embraced the spirit of Australia Day in the brilliant summer sunshine

Beaches up and down the country were filled with happy flag-waving Aussies (pictured) as millions embraced the spirit of Australia Day in the brilliant summer sunshine

Hundreds more pledged their allegiance to the Southern Cross as they became new citizens at emotional and unforgettable Australia Day citizenship ceremonies (pictured, Australia Day beachgoers at Cronulla in Sydney)

Hundreds more pledged their allegiance to the Southern Cross as they became new citizens at emotional and unforgettable Australia Day citizenship ceremonies (pictured, Australia Day beachgoers at Cronulla in Sydney)

Aussies of every age enjoyed  the chance to celebrate Australia's history (pictured, a couple relax by the beachside at Cronulla in Sydney)

Aussies of every age enjoyed  the chance to celebrate Australia’s history (pictured, a couple relax by the beachside at Cronulla in Sydney)

 

Partygoers at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast were happy to have a drink for Australia Day (pictured)

Partygoers at Wave Break Island on the Gold Coast were happy to have a drink for Australia Day (pictured)

Qantas declined to do their traditional city centre Sydney flyover for Australia but instead the crowds on the ground got to enjoy a spectacular display by the RAAF's new F35A Lightning II (pictured, a couple enjoy Australia Day in Sydney)

Qantas declined to do their traditional city centre Sydney flyover for Australia but instead the crowds on the ground got to enjoy a spectacular display by the RAAF’s new F35A Lightning II (pictured, a couple enjoy Australia Day in Sydney)

It was all Australia Day party and no protests at Wave Break Ialand on the Gold Coast (pictured)

It was all Australia Day party and no protests at Wave Break Ialand on the Gold Coast (pictured)

Partygoers proudly flew the flag on the Gold Coast (pictured)

Partygoers proudly flew the flag on the Gold Coast (pictured)

‘I pay my respects to all First Nations here, to all of us feeling proud to be here today but yet sad in knowing why we have to stand here.

‘Why do we have to promote our invasion to make sure Australia sees us, to make sure our murders stop, the raping of our women, the stealing of our children, the poisoning of our land and rivers, the denunciation of our languages. It’s disgusting.’

There were similar scenes in Brisbane, where activists ignored morning rain to march in large numbers in and around the CBD.

The passionate protests came as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and other dignitaries gathered in Canberra for an Australia Day citizenship and flag-raising ceremony on Wednesday morning.

Thousands of protesters have gathered in capital cities across Australia as they prepare to march through the streets demanding Australia Day be scrapped

Thousands of protesters have gathered in capital cities across Australia as they prepare to march through the streets demanding Australia Day be scrapped

Crowds are building at an Invasion Day rally in the Sydney CBD (pictured) where thousands of people have been met by a large police presence outside Town Hall

Crowds are building at an Invasion Day rally in the Sydney CBD (pictured) where thousands of people have been met by a large police presence outside Town Hall

Age was no barrier as protestors in Sydney argued against celebrating Australia Day

Age was no barrier as protestors in Sydney argued against celebrating Australia Day

Protestors were out in force in Sydney on Wednesday (pictured) Australia Day is not a time of celebration for Aboriginal residents across the nation, who often refer to it as Invasion Day

Protestors were out in force in Sydney on Wednesday (pictured) Australia Day is not a time of celebration for Aboriginal residents across the nation, who often refer to it as Invasion Day

Scores of people made their way to Sydney's CBD to march against against Invasion Day

Scores of people made their way to Sydney’s CBD to march against against Invasion Day

Aboriginal flags were in every direction in Sydney as protestors called for Australia Day not to be celebrated on January 26

Aboriginal flags were in every direction in Sydney as protestors called for Australia Day not to be celebrated on January 26

Indigenous residents refer to Australia Day as Invasion Day (pictured, protestors in Sydney)

Indigenous residents refer to Australia Day as Invasion Day (pictured, protestors in Sydney)

A speaker in Sydney said now was time to change the date of Australia Day from January 26

A speaker in Sydney said now was time to change the date of Australia Day from January 26

Proud Indigenous residents of all ages took the opportunity to proudly display their flag in Sydney

Proud Indigenous residents of all ages took the opportunity to proudly display their flag in Sydney

At the same time, a large number of Indigenous people dressed in traditional garb conducted a ceremony at nearby Garema Place in the nation’s capital before a minute’s silence was held for ‘the warriors before us’. 

Stalls and speech tents were also set up at the tent embassy, situated near Old Parliament House. 

Speaking after the citizenship ceremony, federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese said it was important to recognise Australia’s history went back at least 60,000 years.

‘Which is why one of my priorities will be to recognise First Nations people in Australia’s constitution,’ he told reporters.

‘We should be very proud that we are home to the oldest continuous civilisation on the planet.’ 

In Melbourne, a statue of Captain James Cook was smeared with red paint overnight by protestors.

Activists also gathered in Canberra (pictured) before a planned march to Old Parliament on Wednesday morning

Activists also gathered in Canberra (pictured) before a planned march to Old Parliament on Wednesday morning

In Melbourne suburb St Kilda, a statue of Captain James Cook was vandalised (pictured)

In Melbourne suburb St Kilda, a statue of Captain James Cook was vandalised (pictured)

Other protestors in Sydney stressed the need for black deaths in police custody to end and that Invasion Day needs to be properly acknowledged

Other protestors in Sydney stressed the need for black deaths in police custody to end and that Invasion Day needs to be properly acknowledged

The statue was found defaced in Catani Gardens, St Kilda, with Victoria Police condemning the ‘absolutely ridiculous’ act.

‘Whilst we understand people have certain views about this day, we always ask people to be respectful and blatant criminal activity like that will not be tolerated,’ Assistant Commissioner Glenn Weir told the Today Show.

It isn’t the first time the statue has been targeted. In 2018, vandals wrote ‘no pride in genocide’ on the statue and poured pink paint over Cook’s head.

On January 26 in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove and proclaimed British sovereignty. 

The move led to the dispossession of Indigenous peoples from the land they had inhabited for thousands of years before the arrival of the First Fleet. 

Numbers quickly swelled in Sydney as protestors marched from Sydney Town Hall to Victoria Park

Numbers quickly swelled in Sydney as protestors marched from Sydney Town Hall to Victoria Park

Plenty used hand-written signs to express their views, including these three protestors (pictured)

Plenty used hand-written signs to express their views, including these three protestors (pictured)

In Sydney, some protestors (pictured) were very young, but they still looked to get their point across

In Sydney, some protestors (pictured) were very young, but they still looked to get their point across

Activists were spotted using hand written signs to convey their views on the plight of the Indigenous in Australia

Activists were spotted using hand written signs to convey their views on the plight of the Indigenous in Australia

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk