Avengers star Chris Hemsworth calls for Australia Day date change

Avengers star Chris Hemsworth calls for Australia Day date change

‘There is no pride in genocide’: Thousands take to the streets to protest against Australia Day as Avengers star Chris Hemsworth leads the charge to have the controversial date changed

  • National holiday, on Jan 26, marks anniversary of 1788 arrival of First Fleet to Sydney Cove, carrying mainly convicts and troops from Britain
  • For many indigenous Australians, who trace lineage on continent back 50,000 years, it is ‘Invasion Day’ – the start of Britain’s colonisation of Aboriginal lands
  • Some demonstrators want Australia Day abolished; others want its date changed
  • Avengers star Chris Hemsworth posted on Instagram: ‘Let’s find a date to celebrate this beautiful country that doesn’t exclude our indigenous people’

Thousands of Australians protested today, with banners displaying ‘No pride in genocide’, as a national holiday intended to celebrate the birth of modern Australia continues to divide the country.

Australia Day, on January 26, marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet to Sydney Cove, carrying mainly convicts and troops from Britain.

But for many indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, it is ‘Invasion Day’ – the start of Britain’s colonisation of Aboriginal lands and their brutal subjugation. 

Some demonstrators have called for Australia Day to be abolished, while others want the date of the holiday changed.

Among those in the latter camp is Hollywood actor, Chris Hemsworth. The 35-year-old, from Melbourne, took to Instagram to share an impassioned speech on the subject. This is while Chilean-born actress Pia Miller of Home and Away fame also joined in by posting a glorious artwork of the Aboriginal flag.

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January 26, marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the ‘First Fleet’ to Sydney Cove, carrying mainly convicts and troops from Britain. But for many indigenous Australians, who trace their lineage on the continent back 50,000 years, it is ‘Invasion Day’ – the start of Britain’s colonisation of Aboriginal lands and their brutal subjugation. Above, protesters in Sydney on Saturday

The Avengers star made an impassioned plea about his thoughts on Australia Day on Instagram with a picture of him and his child

Chilean-born stunner Pia Miller (pictured) of Home and Away fame also joined in by posting a glorious artwork of the Aboriginal flag

A Royal Australian Navy helicopter flies the national flag over Sydney Harbour during Australia Day celebrations

The Avengers star said it was a day of ‘mixed emotions’ for many Australians, making direct reference to indigenous people. 

‘Let’s find a date to celebrate this beautiful country that doesn’t exclude our indigenous people and doesn’t ignore the pain and suffering that has occurred.’

He added: ‘Australia Day should be a day where we are all united not divided,’ adding the controversial #changethedate hashtag. 

The actor’s comments come as councils across the country are axing Australia Day celebrations – to the fury of some residents – while some Green MPs will attend ‘Invasion Day’ rallies instead.

Above, demonstrators in Melbourne this weekend. Australia’s 700,000 or so indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator

While opinion polls suggest up to half the country supports changing Australia Day, the conservative government is under pressure to legally entrench January 26 as a national holiday. Pictured, protesters in Brisbane on Saturday


  • Shocking moment angry mob of ‘Invasion Day’ protesters…


    Sun’s out, tongues out! Thousands of scantily-clad revellers…


    Beat the heat! Hordes of bikini-clad Sydneysiders flock to…


    Dozens of Australia Day events are cancelled in Queensland…

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Byron Bay in New South Wales, Fremantle in Western Australia and Victoria’s Darebin, Yarra and Moreland councils are among the first to cancel official events on the day – out of respect for indigenous people who see Australia Day as a time of mourning.  

‘Celebrating Australia Day on January 26 is offensive,’ said Joe Williams, a mental health worker and former professional rugby league player.

‘To celebrate an invasion which has seen our people dispossessed, displaced and oppressed for some 230 years, is plain offensive,’ he continued.

Australia’s 700,000 or so indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator.

Councils across the country are axing Australia Day celebrations – to the fury of some residents – while some Green MPs will attend ‘Invasion Day’ rallies instead. Above, one such rally in Sydney today

Thousands took to the streets, including these demonstrators in Sydney. Australia Day is usually celebrated with picnics, traditional Aboriginal performances and citizenship ceremonies, where new Australians pledge their commitment to the nation

Beachgoers at Bondi pose up in patriotic swimwear on Australia Day. Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government, which faces a general election due in May, opposes any change and has moved to shore up support for the holiday

While opinion polls suggest up to half the country supports changing Australia Day, the conservative government is under pressure to legally entrench January 26 as a national holiday.

‘We should keep January 26 as a special day in our calendar,’ said Nick Folkes, a painter from Sydney and founder of the Party for Freedom, an anti-immigration and anti-Muslim far-right group.

‘It means respect and acknowledgement of the sacrifices made by explorers, settlers, our convicts,’ he added.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government, which faces a general election due in May, opposes any change and has moved to shore up support for the holiday.

This month, it ordered local councils to hold induction ceremonies for new citizens on Australia Day and the Australian Citizenship Day holiday on September 17, or have their authorisation revoked.

Morrison has also pledged nearly AU$7million (£4million) for a replica of explorer James Cook’s HMS Endeavour, the first ship to reach the east coast of Australia in 1770.

Aussies flocked to Bondi beach over the weekend to cool down, and celebrate, Australia Day


Dozens of Australian flags waved in the wind as revellers took to the shallow waters of the beach this weekend. Others temporarily tattooed the iconic blue, white and red flag on their bodies as they went for a dip

The replica ship will circumnavigate Australia next year to mark the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten has criticised Morrison for spending taxpayers’ money on a ‘bizarre Captain Cook fetish,’ but the prime minister said it will unify Australians.

‘I believe it will be a voyage of bringing Australians together,’ Morrison said in Cairns this month. ‘I’m keen for it to be done very much in that spirit.’

Australia Day is often celebrated with picnics, traditional Aboriginal performances and citizenship ceremonies, where new Australians pledge their commitment to the nation. 

The REAL story behind the white settlement on January 26, 1788

By STEPHEN GIBBS for Daily Mail Australia 

The First Fleet sailed from England with explicit instructions that upon its arrival in New South Wales the indigenous people were not to be harmed.

When it landed at Sydney Cove in Port Jackson on January 26, 1788, no shots were fired and no one was physically hurt.

Whether the country was ‘invaded’ or ‘settled’ is at the heart of the debate over how and when Australia Day is marked.

The 1992 Mabo decision granting native title to indigenous Australians relied on the country having been settled, not invaded, as noted in WA Today.

In that decision the High Court rejected the ‘terra nullius’ doctrine – that the Australian landmass belonged to no one – without overturning the view the continent had been settled, not invaded.

Some of the First Fleet vessels under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip sail to Sydney. When it landed at Sydney Cove in Port Jackson on January 26, 1788, no shots were fired and no one was physically hurt

In the 230 years following the First Fleet’s arrival, terrible injustices against Aborigines took place. 

All of those atrocities – the massacres, the human rights abuses and discrimination, are part of the debate over whether the nation should change the date of Australia Day. 

But what really happened on January 26, 1788? 

The Royal Navy’s Captain Arthur Phillip had been empowered under British law by King George III to establish a penal colony in New South Wales. 

The land he was ordered to settle had been occupied by Aborigines for perhaps 60,000 years but was not legally recognised as a sovereign nation. 

Eleven ships under his command left Portsmouth in May 1787 with about 1,400 men, women and children on board, bound for Botany Bay.  

Leading the fleet were two Royal Navy vessels, accompanying three store ships and six convict transports.

Captain Arthur Phillip addresses First Fleet settlers upon landing at Sydney Cove. He had been empowered under British law by King George III to establish a penal colony in New South Wales. The land he was ordered to settle had been occupied by Aborigines for perhaps 60,000 years but was not legally recognised as a sovereign nation

Among Phillip’s instructions upon reaching his destination were that Aborigines’ lives and livelihoods be protected and friendly relations with them established.

The First Fleet’s initial landing was gradual, with ships arriving between January 18 and 20 at Botany Bay, south of Port Jackson, where James Cook had dropped anchor 18 years earlier.

According to the NSW Migration Heritage Centre, the local Aboriginal people met the fleet in an ‘uneasy stand-off’ at what is now called Frenchman’s Beach at La Perouse. No violence occurred. 

Unsatisfied with Botany Bay as a suitable site to establish a colony, on January 21, Phillip led a small party in three boats to explore other options further north.

He entered Port Jackson, which he later described in a letter as ‘the finest harbour in the world, in which a thousand sail of the line may ride in the most perfect security…’

His party returned to Botany Bay two days later to find another colonial power exploring the coast.

On January 24, two French ships from the scientific expedition led by Jean-François de La Pérouse were seen just outside Botany Bay.

The French, who stayed at Botany Bay until March 10, fired upon Aborigines in February. 

On January 26, the First Fleet headed to Port Jackson, landing at a spot Phillip called Sydney Cove after Lord Sydney, the British Home Secretary.

Only Phillip and several officers and marines from the navy vessel Supply initially went ashore, with the rest of those on board watching from the water.

The British flag was planted in a short ceremony and formal possession was declared.

The other 10 ships of the fleet did not arrive until later in the day. There was no armed conflict with the local Eora people. No one was physically harmed.

Phillip’s instructions regarding Aborigines were that he would ‘conciliate their affections’, to ‘live in amity and kindness with them.’

He was to punish anyone who should ‘wantonly destroy them, or give them any unnecessary interruption in the exercise of their several occupations.’

Those instructions were standard British orders for the time and initially were largely followed.

Writing in the Dictionary of Sydney, historian Grace Karskens said: ‘Phillip and the officers were genuinely committed to establishing and maintaining friendly and peaceful relations.’

‘The early meetings in Botany Bay and Port Jackson were often marked by friendliness, curiosity, gift-giving and dancing together on the beaches.

‘This is so entirely different from earlier violent and murderous encounters between Europeans and Indigenous people.

‘It is also very different from the frontier violence that dominated pastoral expansion in Australia well into the 20th century. In that sense it was enlightened and humane.’

According to Professor Karskens, the first fatal shooting might not have occurred until September 1789 when a Henry Hacking shot into a group of Aborigines out hunting on the North Shore.

As the colony spread in the years to come, so did the violence. More and more land was taken. Massacres did occur.

Some Australians say all of those wrongs must be attributed to the First Fleet arriving at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788.

But there was no violent confrontation on that first Australia Day.

The councils who will not mark Australia Day on THAT date

Inner-city Melbourne’s Yarra City Council last year became the first in the country to stop holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26. 

Similarly, the City of Fremantle has held its Australia Day celebrations the day after the rest of the country for the past three years.    

City of Darebin Mayor Susan Rennie in Melbourne’s north told SBS News her council ‘will not be marking January 26 by holding any events’ for the second year in a row. 

The Byron Shire Council will hold celebrations on the evening on January 25 with citizenship ceremonies held the following day. 

While the changes have been lauded by both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, they have sparked backlash in other facets of the community. 

Online, Perth residents expressed fury and confusion at the councils’ desertion from January 26-based celebrations. 

‘It’s all noise being made by loud greens voters and socialists. I can’t imagine ever being so fragile I need to use atrocities of yesteryear as a red herring for me to project my insecurities onto happy Australians,’ wrote one man. 

The comments come as it was revealed by The Australian that Green MPs will attend ‘Invasion Day’ rallies around the country on January 26. 

The move is part of a bid to pose political pressure toward Bill Shorten and the Labor Party to change their sway of support for Australia Day.

Greens’ indigenous affairs spokeswoman, Rachel Siewert told the publication that Mr Shorten’s opposition to support changing the date was out of step with the majority of Australians.

‘He says “Yeah, we know a lot of aboriginal people aren’t happy with it”, but he still thinks we should be celebrating on that day. He is trying to have it both ways,’ she said.

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