Mob from all over Queensland came to Meanjin (Brisbane) for Tuesday’s Invasion Day rally, with an estimated crowd of 10,000 people attending.

With allies standing firm in support and some having travelled far to attend, the day started in Musgrave Park with a raising of the Aboriginal Flag and an official welcome, reminding attendees why they had gathered together.

The rally soon kicked off at Queens Garden, with proactive volunteers and organisers flashing QR codes for a petition to the Prime Minister, in addition to free water and masks for a COVID-safe event.

The petition calls upon Prime Minister Scott Morrison to meet with the families whose loved ones have died in custody for the 30th anniversary of Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Meanjin Invasion Day rally 2021. Photo by Rachel Stringfellow.

NIT spoke to some of the rally’s organisers about the significance of having an Invasion Day rally.

“I think it’s more important for non-Aboriginal peoples to come up here, because there’s a history of 230 years that have been denied to them and they need to start learning that,” said Gomeroi and Kooma man Bo Spearim.

“Some are here because they’re sick of the history that hasn’t been told to them, so they’re ready to learn the truth.

“Every time we step on the streets and march and protest, that’s a teaching moment, not just for Australia but the world about what’s happened here over the last 250 years.”

“If there’s anything true about moving forward it’s definitely about everybody … following the message of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of this country.

“Any freedom that [we are] fighting for, they need to stand in solidarity with us … because the true freedom that they’ll get is the freedom when they start walking along with us.”

When asked what allies should be doing, not just today, but every day moving forward; Gomeroi and Kooma woman Ruby Wharton said it is time to start “standing up, to pay the rent”.

During the rally, Wharton shared some powerful words for allies.

“I would also like to thank … all our allies that have come out today. Especially the ones that have been attending meetings and marshal training and have been copping it left, right and centre, and have been doing nothing but making sure they’re paying the rent in every way — we thank you, and we see you.”

Gumbaynggirr man Nathan Brennan was visiting from Coffs Harbour, NSW and attended the Meanjin rally.

“We’re here to support our Brisbane brothers and sisters, we’re here to support and resist the ongoing colonial violence,” he said.

Cobble Cobble man Tamas Davis also voiced the importance of attending the rally.

“The reason why I’m here marching today is Australia Day was founded on a bunch of lies and misconceptions of what really happened here, and it’s been a terrible history since with the treatment of Aboriginal people,” Davis said.

Visiting from Coffs Harbour, Gumbaynggirr man Nathan Brennan (R) attended the rally. Photo by Rachel Stringfellow.

By Rachel Stringfellow