Macquarie University
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From the frontlines of Black resistance: reshaping meaning and purpose of Australia Day

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posted on 2022-11-10, 01:15 authored by Lynda-June Coe

This thesis aims to amplifiy Wiradjuri voices and our contributions to the struggle of Indigenous movement-building since the 1938 Day of Mourning protest to the present and focuses on 26 January and ‘Australia Day’ celebrations. I acknowledge our struggle and resistance began long before 1938. As a Wiradjuri warrior engaged in the resistance this thesis includes my own voice as an agitator and organiser against settler domination. My research also focusses on what makes and activates warrior ways of knowing-being-doing when dealing with the construction of the settler state and the way in which settlers commemorate their erasure of Indigenous people.

Since the arrival of the First Fleet onto Gadigal Country on 26 January 1788, Indigenous people have defended our homelands. From open warfare on the frontier plains to petitions and strike action - Indigenous resistance has evolved not only from a fundamental need to survive but to also seek a future where we thrive. ‘Australia Day’ is held on 26 January as a national day of celebration. A day to reflect on settler sovereignty, history, identity and what it means to be ‘Australian’. For Indigenous peoples however, the day is a reminder of dispossession, genocide, and racial exclusion. Two very distinct and opposing positions.

Research Question: From a Wiradjuri perspective, how has Indigenous activism and protest impacted the way in which we understand the relevance of Australia Day?


Table of Contents

Chapter One: Introduction -- Chapter Two: Methodology -- Chapter Three: Being Wiradjuri -- Chapter Four: On The Frontlines -- Chapter Five: Australia Day -- Chapter Six: Concluding Remarks -- Appendices

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis MRes, Macquarie University, Department of Indigenous Studies, 2022

Department, Centre or School

Department of Indigenous Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Bronwyn Carlson

Additional Supervisor 1

Ryan Frazer


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




96 pages

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