January 26, 2023

Staff reflections on 26 January

On this date, 26 January, we share reflections from our Aboriginal staff as they speak of the impact this day has on themselves, and on their communities. They are from the following communities: Wiradjuri, Wonnarua, Anawain, Bunjalung and Dunghutti.

We acknowledge the trauma that First Nations people have experienced, and we will continue to listen, respect and offer a platform to make sure that those we work with and support are heard.

I always sit in conflict on this day as I feel the hurt and suffering that my people have, and continue to endure. I also acknowledge that my children and I share non-Aboriginal heritage from one of our parents. We as a family have made the decision not to participate in this national day of celebration, but to use the time to reflect on who we are as an Aboriginal family and how we can contribute to our community to help build a stronger future for all our mob.

– Staff member, Wiradjuri/Wonnarua

For me January 26th is difficult to think about, as it is a painful reminder of the significant losses that our people experienced on this day and how it continues to impact upon all our people and future generations.
Whilst I acknowledge that we can’t change the past, and today we try our best to help and heal from the trauma that was caused, I personally hold onto the hope that all non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people can work together in this space to create a thriving environment for our children and the young people we work with.

– Staff member, Anawain

I don’t celebrate January 26th. I take the opportunity to relax and be present for my family, while being aware of the deep loss of my elders that continues to be felt deeply in every generation.
I do believe the date should be changed to acknowledge the extreme harm and disrespect that occurred. A new date would allow us all to celebrate this incredible country that we can walk and live together on.

– Staff member, Bunjalung

This great and beautiful country of ours has a long and rich history dating back thousands of years. Today the country seems to be divided. The non-Indigenous people appear to be invested in celebrating Australia Day on the 26th of January, though the date was only made official in 1994. 30 years old. Come on. So, for me this date marks the beginning of a long and brutal colonisation of my people, their land, and cultural way of life. Grrrrrrrrr. Besides the day being a public holiday, there is little to celebrate for me. We are the first people of this land, so show some respect and change the date so we can all celebrate your 200 plus years and our thousands of years as Australians together.

– Staff member, Dunghutti