Bleats

The Alternative Guide To The Australia Day Weekend If You’re Not Up For Wearing The Flag As A Cape

It's not all about the beer, tbh.

If smashing tinnies while sitting in a kiddie pool on Australia Day isn’t your thing, this round-up definitely is for you.

For those who want to show support for #ChangeTheDate, and their local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, there are rallies and marches in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra, Adelaide and Hobart, as well as in smaller cities and towns around the country. Most of the events kick off late morning, so you can start your long weekend being part of something big and meaningful.

Sydney

You can celebrate Indigenous culture and survival at Camperdown’s Yabun Festival, the largest Indigenous festival in the country, which kicks off at 10am and runs until 7pm. The name means “music to a beat” in Gadigal language. Performers this year include Thelma Plum and Eurovision star Isaiah.

Parramatta Park also has a huge day of activities, including a special performance from Yothu Yindi. ‘Treaty’ is still a banger.

Speaking of bangers, you can also hit up Electric Gardens Festival in Centennial Parklands and catch Sigma, Bag Raiders, Set Mo, and heaps more.

Melbourne

The Balit Narrun /Share The Spirit Festival kicks off at 1pm in Treasury Gardens, featuring workshops plus an unreal lineup of Indigenous performers including Mojo Juju, Birdz, the Stiff Gins.

Over in Belgrave there’s a Survival Day event celebrating Indigenous culture with live music, dance and food.

You can also head over to the Australian Open Live Stage to catch Angus and Julia Stone, supported by the ace Alex Lahey – you don’t need match tickets, just a Ground Pass (which at $54 is probs less than you’d pay to see an A&J show inside the arena).

Brisbane

Get your hands on some native blooms with a floral arrangement workshop at Northside Flower Market – a creative way to show some love for the local plantlife and take home something pretty to look at all weekend.

Or skip the tinnies for some local craft brews, street art and chill time with the daylight lockdown party at West End brewery Green Beacon.

Perth

Escape the heat (31+!) at a movie in sweet air conditioning – Palace Cinemas is doing free wine-size upgrades (yesss) and lamington choc tops all weekend.

Then on January 27, you can head to Fremantle for One Day, a free festival headlined by Montaigne, along with performances by Adrian Eagle (the guy from Hilltop Hoods’ ‘Clark Griswold’) and Emily Wurramara.

Darwin

Something a little different is happening in the NT Capital, with the History Truth Education event in Civic Park from 11.30am, based around discussion and sharing a (free) meal.

Organised by local Jessie Bonton, a young Indigenous woman – who says she used to do the Aus Day thing “in a frickin’ Australian flag bikini” – it’s designed to bring everyone to the table to talk about what January 26 really means.

Adelaide

Hit up the ever-popular Indoor Plant Sale run by The Jungle Collective – the ticketed events often sell out, with keen beans heading over to snap up a cheeky monstera or two. Dress in your beach gear for discounts!

In the evening, you can check out Kumangka, Mukapainga, Tampinga – a gorgeous art installation in Elder Park celebrating Kaurna elders and other prominent Indigenous folks.

Canberra

The forecast is for a very hot day, so the Aboriginal Embassy’s event is kicking off early at 9am in Garema Place.

Then head indoors before it gets up to that dreaded 39-degree mark. The National Library has a fascinating, free exhibition about Captain Cook in the Pacific. An hour in there and you’ll know more about Scott Morrison’s boyfriend than the PM himself.

It’s Hard To Argue With The Absolute Roasting Australia Gets In The Cheeky New Lamb Ad

“We’ve lost the plot. Cheating at sport?! Can’t even hang onto a Prime Minister!”

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New Zealand may be famous for its sheep, but Australia is famous for its lamb. And for stealing all of New Zealand’s best stuff. And for not being able to hold onto a Prime Minister, while looking longingly over the ditch at the Kiwis’ awesome, young, funny, feminist, Vogue-modelling, Colbert-guesting PM.

So it’s with tongues planted firmly in cheeks that the latest ad from the Meat & Livestock Association follows a certain actor’s lead in inviting New Zealand to be our newest state, so that we can continue to borrow all their best stuff – including Jacinda Ardern – in exchange for delicious lamb.

The full version of the #ShareTheLamb ad shows how we attempted to ring in NZ on the whole federation thing in 1901 (it’s true!) and then cuts to a crisis meeting in current-day Australia, complete with Prime Ministerial portraits being switched out in the background every two minutes.

Turns out that letting New Zealand be their own country is where we went wrong all those years ago – why else would we have spent the last 119 years claiming things they made as our own national icons?

Guess who?

A mid-Tasman summit complete with floating BBQ laden with sizzling chops sees our eager Aussie representatives working out the details with two sweet, bemused Kiwi bros: a name change (negotiated down from “New Australia” to “New Australia-land”), and access to tasty cuts of lamb in exchange for their PM becoming ours as well.

Not to mention a new national day, on “a date we can all agree on” – a lovely, subtle shoutout to the #ChangeTheDate campaign to move Australia Day so it’s not on January 26, which is considered by Indigenous communities to be a day of mourning.

Let’s just say it’s not going to be Scott Morrison’s favourite ad of the year.

The lamb ad is now a January tradition, dating back to the days of Sam Kekovich bellowing into the camera about how lamb is the Aussiest thing there is. While Kekovich is still on board – catch his floating cameo at the ocean BBQ! – this cheeky take is a sly, subversive and even funnier vision of Australia.

The last couple of years’ ads have played on the Australia Day controversy and our near-constant political arguments – but the suggestion that we swap out our PM for someone much more chill is unlikely to be controversial at all.

Brooke Boney Explaining Why She Can't Celebrate Australia Day On January 26 Shows Why We Need More Indigenous Voices On TV

"That’s the day that it changed for us."

Former triple j newsreader Brooke Boney has been the Today show’s entertainment reporter for all of a week, and already the impact of having an Indigenous host on Channel 9’s flagship morning program is being felt.

For once, a conversation about Australia Day on a breakfast TV show included an Indigenous voice, and not just as a special guest. Host Deborah Knight was able to simply turn to her right and ask Boney to talk about what January 26 means to her as a Gamilaroi woman.

“I can’t separate the 26th of January from the fact that that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than they are to go to school, or that my little sisters or my mum are more likely to be beaten and raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum, and that started from that day,” Boney explained.

“So for me it’s a difficult day and I don’t want to celebrate it. Any other day of the year I’ll tie an Australian flag around my neck and I’ll run through the streets with anyone else.”

“That’s the day that it changed for us. That’s the beginning of what some people would say is the end. That’s the turning point.”

“But why does it have to be us vs them?” asked sports reporter Tony Jones (not the Q&A guy). To which Boney pointed out that the divide between Indigenous communities and non-Indigenous Australians is not a rhetorical position being taken on to try and win an argument – it’s a measurable reality.

“The statistics tell us that our lives are harder,” she said simply. “And that’s not me making it up or saying ‘woe is me’ or saying ‘feel sorry for me’.”

“A day that suits more people is going to be more uniting.”

“I wish it wasn’t [us vs them].”

It’s as simple as that: we currently celebrate Australia, officially, on a date that marks colonisation as the beginning of Australia, and that means something specific to the country’s First Nations people.

Insisting on this date does not celebrate a meeting of two cultures that created what we now know as Australia – it celebrates the beginning of a brutal and systematic attempt to wipe out the culture that existed here before January 1788. It erases that culture, and compounds the suffering Indigenous people have endured since then.

Of course, reconciliation is not as simple as changing the date – but it would be a symbolic move showing that Australia’s actually ready to reckon with our own history.

Boney’s take is yet another simple expression of how it feels when white Australia tells Indigenous people to stop complaining and smile through the pain.

And while it might not win over any of the bright sparks jumping on Today’s social media to tell her exactly that, it’s a meaningful bit of progress to have her speaking her truth to that audience.

#Trending

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