Australia Day 2013 marks the first time that both the Australian and the Aboriginal flags have flown side by side on the Harbour Bridge on Australia Day.

 In a ceremony hosted by Rhoda Roberts, head of indigenous programming for the Sydney Opera House, both flags were raised simultaneously to commemorate the beginning of the Australia Day festivities.

The flags were ushered up the Harbour Bridge by a performance of the Creation Stick Procession. The performance depicted the creation process where Dhurumulun, son of Biyami the creator, was sent down to Earth with one wooden leg which left holes in the ground; it is from these holes in which all life came.

The ceremony was attended by her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO Governor of NSW, Aboriginal Elder and Aboriginal Land Council representative Charles Madden and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello.

"I'm pleased to be here today to witness an historic event, the raising of two flags on Australia day," Mr Madden said.

Ms Bashir spoke about the moving nature of the event and that this is an important symbol in recognising the Aboriginal people. "This is a very moving, deeply felt experience, to be here with you all this morning because it does denote so much symbolism and actual reality of the longest living civilisation of this planet. Lives were changed with the arrival right here of the First Fleet."

Historic event ... Australia Day festivities begin with symbolic ceremony. Photo: Jacky Ghossein
Mr Dominello believes that this is how every Australia Day should begin and hopes this ceremony becomes a nationwide tradition.

"I think it's critical, the reality is that the Aboriginal people are the first Australians and you can go anywhere around the world and you will never see the Aboriginal culture, it is uniquely Australian.

"So when we celebrate all that it is to be Australian, part of our collective DNA is our Aboriginal culture, I think it's very appropriate that we start Australia day like this."

Responses to "Aboriginal flag raised on Harbour Bridge"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Until 1788, the Aboriginal tribes of Australia were completely isolated. However, when the English arrived, they were soon discovered and were often forced out of their homes because of the influx of sheep farming. Tribal paintings became commodities for British and other European traders. There was no government, no monetary system, and no land ownership by the Aborigines, so the British took over much of the land, forcing the Aborigines to move. Many people became sick and contracted venereal disease, whooping cough, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. Their rights were stripped away from them until much later in 1967, when the Australian people voted to make them citizens. Today, the remaining Aboriginal tribes are respected, their paintings are considered historical and real art, and they are now afforded the same rights as other Australian people.

  2. Greetings from Pittsburgh, PA (USA)-- Standing in solidarity with you on Australia Day --- Linking the struggles of First World People on every continent around the globe. Lois "Toni" McClendon

  3. Anonymous says:

    Australia day celebration each year comes & go. But the anguish never changes. The atmosphere is weary. And tensions run high. My biggest fear is that as the younger generation become older. We as a nation will certainly become divided. Please help. & make a change. To allow us to celebrate with pride together as 1..

  4. Anonymous says:

    my name is amano i live now in barcelona spain with nine dogs i play yidaki and other instruments since 24 dad is from nigeria..and mum from finland...happy austarlia day to the elders that taught me uncle big red kangaroo from injibunji clan witnoom gorge west australia..and also many thanks to his wife for teaching me what they did. also brother phil from kukularanji tribe.cairns....and the lders from yolngu tribe up north..and also p`hil perris...from perth featherfoot tribe my frist orginal yidaki london england.i am from efik tribe in south east nigeria.......i know all about racism i grew up in the UK..i grew up being called "NIGGER WOG GOLLYwOG CHALKIE".. and the british colonised nigeria...and now shell oil has totally ruined the cross river area in nigeria with oil spells...amd that is where my people come from...maybe not our tribe..but negihbouring tribes....all indigenous people of the planet have been fucked over by white colonialism...maybe the whiteman can leanr something from living in harmony with motgher earth instaed of raping her for profit....animals cant eat money

  5. Odette says:

    If you really want to know the truth then look at the Northern Territory reports from the United Nations and look and see if you think the original people of this land are treated fairly. The truth is much more hidden. This is just glossing over the truth of what is still a culture that is disrespected.

  6. Tama says:

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