here in this place
The Maggolee website, developed by Reconciliation Victoria, supports engagement and partnerships between local government and Aboriginal communities.

Why is this important?

26 January is one of the most painful days of the year for First Peoples. It marks the beginning of 230 years of dispossession, genocide and loss.

Some local councils have already changed how they mark the day, and it is important for all councils to listen to the local First Peoples community when deciding what action to take.

Having these continuing and respectful conversations locally will help all councils reflect on what they stand for and what date in our history best reflects those values and attributes.

Read Reconciliation Victoria's position statement on January 26 and Protocols and Suggestions to approach the date respectfully.

Recommended Strategies

  • Consult with local First Peoples about 26 January and consider council’s position on the day.
  • Provide alternate, culturally safe events on 26 January for First Peoples to attend.
  • Invite Traditional Owners to play a special role in any 26 January events you are organising but understand and respect their feelings if they do not wish to take part.
  • Participate in existing or create new regional networks focused on the topic, such as the Local Government 26 January Network.
  • Lower the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags to half-mast on the day.
  • Hold a minute’s silence at the start of any formal events to acknowledge the continuing injustices that colonisation has created. 

January 26 Local Government Case Studies

Surf Coast Shire Council

In 2023, Surf Coast Shire Council partnered with Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to present the inaugural Pilk Purriyn truth-telling event at sunrise. Pilk Purriyn means "sunrise" in Wadawurrung language and this respectful, deep-listening event was embraced by the community with more than 2000 people attending.

Surf Coast Shire Council formally passed the motion to no longer take part in Australia Day celebrations and to fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags at half-mast on 26 January in September 2021.

Images of the Pilk Purriyn 2023 event. The 2024 Pilk Purryn event will take place on Friday 26 January 2024. Learn more.

City of Stonnington

The City of Stonnington hosts a Healing Ceremony in partnership with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Traditional Owners.

The first Healing Ceremony was held at Malvern Cricket Ground in 2022 and is now an annual event. The ceremony allows the community to learn what the day means to Traditional Custodians and supports Council's reconciliation journey.

Moonee Valley City Council

On January 26, Moonee Valley City Council hosts their annual Bunjils Marroun Healing Ceremony as an opportunity for the Aboriginal community, Moonee Valley residents and visitors to come together to listen to Traditional Owner Elders and other Aboriginal voices as they reflect on the impacts of colonisation on their families and communities.

City of Ballarat

The City of Ballarat hosts an annual Survival Day Dawn Ceremony to commemorate First Peoples who fought in the frontier wars and those who died in widespread massacres across Australia during colonisation.

While it is a day of mourning, it is also a day where all Australians can come together to learn about and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people’s history and mark the survival of ongoing traditions and cultures.

The Koorie Engagement Action Group (KEAG), the advisory committee that provides the City of Ballarat with expertise in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander matters is instrumental in the organisation of the Survival Day service.

City of Port Phillip

On January 26, the City of Port Phillip hosts We-Akon Dilinja (Mourning Reflection) - a commemorative dawn service honouring the past and realising a new united vision from the perspective of First Nations performers and speakers.

The We-Akon Dilinja event has been held as part of City of Port Phillip's commemorations on Australia Day since 2021, and is presented in partnership with the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council.

Darebin City Council

After a historic vote in 2017, Darebin City Council no longer participates in celebrations or ceremonies in the Darebin municipality on January 26th. In the first week of September, the Council now hosts a new, respectful, and culturally safe celebration, the Ngulu Ngajin Ganbu Gulin Festival.

This is an annual community event which recognises and celebrates First Nations peoples and the wider Darebin community. Co-designed with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Traditional Owners, the event features a Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Welcome Ceremony and is an opportunity for raising community awareness and coming together as a proud, diverse and inclusive community for all. The inaugural event took place on 1 September 2019.

Watch the GanbuGulin (One Mob) documentary, which follows the lead up to this monumental decision.

Key Contacts

Local Government 26 January Network (via Reconciliation Victoria)

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