Australian hasn’t been as divided on our national day holiday as we were on January 26, 2021.
While hundreds of thousands just wanted to head to the beach and make the most of the glorious weather and the public holiday – besides in Melbourne, which was hit by a cold snap – there were thousands who shunned the party to turn out for ‘Invasion Day’ demonstrations calling for Australia Day to be abolished forever.
A long-running campaign to abolish Australia Day or change the date has a growing number of Aussies feeling uneasy about our national day of celebration.
Indigenous activists, and many other Australians, now regard the day British settlers who first landed in Port Jackson on the First Fleet in 1788 as an event to be mourned, not celebrated.
But while thousands of Australians still carried on the traditional Australia Day cheer with sun-soaked barbecues and a trip to the beach, it appears evident the nation’s appetite for an overtly traditional celebration complete with Australian flags and boxing kangaroos has greatly diminished.
Two women celebrate the national holiday on the back of a boat as temperatures soar on the Gold Coast
Protesters in Melbourne raise their fists in the air as they call for an end to black death in custody
A glamorous blonde woman in an Australian pattern bikini is pictured celebrating Australia Day on the Gold Coast
Revellers raise their hands in the air next to a boxing flag kangaroo as they celebrate Australia Day on the Gold Coast
A glamorous blonde woman in an Australian pattern bikini is pictured on Australia Day at the Gold Coast
A man draped in an Australian flag is pictured celebrating the national holiday on the Gold Coast
A couple fry up some onions over a gas barbecue on the back of a boat as they celebrate Australia Day on the Gold Coast
A group of bikini-clad woman huddle together on a boat as they celebrate Australia Day on the Gold Coast
A woman dressed in an Australian pattern bikini raises both hands in the air as she poses for a photograph on the Gold Coast
An officer pours out a bottle of alcohol as he patrols Gordons Bay in Sydney’s East on Australia Day as temperatures soar
An inflatable boxing kangaroo is seen under a family’s shade at the Nepean River Reserve in Menangle Park on January 26, 2021 in Sydney
Protesters are seen during a rally protesting the cancellation of the official Australia Day parade in MelbourneJanuary 26, 2021
Young children don Australian flags as protesters are seen at a rally protesting the cancellation of the official Australia Day parade in Melbourne
A man checks on the meat cooking on a BBQ next to the river at the Nepean River Reserve in Menangle Park on January 26, 2021 in Sydney
In years gone by most Australians with the day off would be bundled into an afternoon barbecue with mates, a fully stocked esky and Triple J’s hottest 100 blaring.
A pair of thongs are seen on the river sand at the Nepean River Reserve in Menangle Park on January 26, 2021 in Sydney
Pictured: People celebrating Australia Day in Cronulla, as beach car parks around the city reach capacity
Pictured: Families walking along the shores of packed Cronulla in Sydney’s south on January 26
Less than a decade ago supermarkets and stores would stock up on Australiana-themed merch like boxing kangaroo beer coolers and Southern Cross stickers.
It used to be the norm for everyone from school kids to grown men and women to proudly display temporary tattoos of Australian flags under each check as they celebrated what it means to be from Down Under.
Many young Australians with the day off would be bundled into an afternoon barbecue with mates, a fully stocked esky and Triple J’s hottest 100 blaring across the backyard.
Pubs throughout the country even five years would be decorated as though a Crocodile Dundee gift shop had exploded.
But after increased numbers at Invasion Day demonstrations and a number high-profile organisations pulling the pin – the days of the boisterous, nationalist Australia Day celebration are all but over.
Triple J announced three years ago they would no longer hold the iconic radio countdown on January 26 stating that it should be an event that ‘everyone can enjoy’.
Pictured: Beachgoers descend on Bondi Beach on January 26, 2021 in Sydney to celebrate Australia Day
A man with on a jet ski flies the Australian flag on the Gold Coast as he celebrates Australia Day
Two woman enter the water in Newcastle as temperatures soar on Australia Day
Josh Parr on He’s A Hotshot wins race 3 the Ranvet Handicap during Australia Day at Warwick Farm Racecourse on January 26, 2021 in Sydney
A woman laughs as she showers at Bondi Beach on January 26, 2021
A boat is decorated with Australian flags on the Gold Coast for Australia Day
Cricket Australia also made headlines after announcing this summer they would refer to the public holiday as ‘January 26’ celebrations and not Australia Day.
A host of celebrities have also refused to celebrate Australia Day and have instead called for the date to be changed as it causes too much pain for First Nations people.
Model Jesinta Franklin, who is married to Indigenous AFL star Lance Franklin, led the chorus of celebrities calling for the date to be abolished, saying ‘there is no pride in genocide’.
‘Today I pay my respects and stand in solidarity with the Traditional owners of this land, on this day of mourning,’ Ms Franklin posted on her Instagram.
Hollywood actor Liam Hemsworth uploaded an image of the Aboriginal flag with those words.
‘Always Was, Always Will Be. acknowledges that hundreds of Nations and our cultures covered this continent,’ he said.
‘Australia has the world’s oldest oral stories. The First Peoples engraved the world’s first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies.’
Model Jesinta Franklin (pictured with husband Buddy Franklin) is among a host of celebrities who are refusing to celebrate Australia Day on January 26
Mr Campbell (pictured with wife Lisa) said he and his family acknowledges the pain surrounding Australia Day
Today Extra’s David Campbell said Australia Day was not a day for celebration around the country.
‘My family and I acknowledge the pain surrounding today. We will not be celebrating. We will be listening and learning,’ Mr Campbell posted on his Instagram.
Comedian and radio host Em Rusciano said the time had come for Australians to choose a date which was more inclusive of all citizens.
‘It’s time to stop telling our First Nations people to ‘Just get over it’,’ she posted on her Instagram.
‘Grief has no time limit, we don’t police grief. We cannot change the past but we can acknowledge the horrendous wrongs that occurred and take action to show we are serious about reconciliation.
‘Changing the date would be one such action. This country needs a national day of celebration that is inclusive of ALL Australians. We currently don’t have one. So today you must: March, Donate, Educate YOURSELF.’
A protester holds up a sign that reads ‘No pride in Genocide’ at the Invasion Day rally in Sydney’s Domain on January 26
A huge police presence was on hand at the rally as officers watch on to enforce social distancing measures at the gathering
A protester hold up a sign that reads ‘We walk on stolen land’ at the Invasion Day rally in Sydney’s Domain on January 26, 2021
The woman and another protester in the background can be seen grappling with police in Sydney’s Hyde Park
A man can be seen grappling with police as an officer holds onto a man’s arm at the Invasion Day rally in Hyde Park
While demonstration across Australian cities were mostly peaceful, some protests turned ugly.
There were four arrests made in Sydney after 5000 people descended on the Domain near the city’s CBD.
Coronavirus restrictions preventing the huge marches of last year and ones before.
Relations between police and protesters were friendly during most of the event, with officers even snapping selfies with some participants, but turned ugly when some of the crowd moved to Hyde Park after the rally ended.
Four protesters were arrested and dragged away in handcuffs while dozens of officers for med lines and forced them out of Hyde Park.
A protester is pictured wearing a face mask decorated with tradition Aboriginal art at the Invasion Day rally in Sydney
A man can be seen getting dragged away by police in Hyde Park during Invasion Day demonstrations
A mural of Scott Morrison dressed as a colonial settler was painted by street artist Scott Marsh in Sydney’s Newtown early on Australia Day, January 26, 2021
In Melbourne, thousands of protesters congregated outside parliament on Spring Street for a socially distanced march.
Under Victorian Covid restrictions, public gatherings over 100 people are still banned.
Premier Daniel Andrews had warned any behaviour which could spread Covid will not be tolerated by police.
In bizarre scenes, protest organisers refused to kick off the event until the masses broke themselves into groups of 100 and moved along Bourke Street.
More than an hour after the protest was supposed to begin, protesters were still distancing themselves hundreds of metres across the CBD.
Protesters braved the rain to attend the Invasion Day rally in Melbourne, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
A protester wearing a face mask poses for the camera at a rainy Invasion Day rally in Melbourne on January 26, 2021
A protester holds up a sign that reads ‘pay the rent’ as thousands gather in Melbourne for an Invasion Day protest
A large number of protesters are pictured in Melbourne, packed close together despite coronavirus restrictions on gatherings
A woman is pictured holding a up a sign that reads ‘Always was always will be’ at an Invasion Day protest in Melbourne
In bizarre scenes, protest organisers refused to kick off the event until the masses broke themselves into groups of 100 and moved along Bourke Street
Melbourne’s wet and wild weather did little to dampen the crowd’s spirits, which was warned the march would not take place unless everyone socially distanced.
Hundreds of police officers have swamped the city as protesters lay placards outside parliament.
The peaceful protest threatened to turn sour when a man draped in an Australian flag was set upon by the protesters.
The ugly incident happened outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station about 1pm and saw police rush into break up the melee.
Protesters could be heard shouting the ‘Australian flag was racist’ as they grappled with the man, who was sporting a ‘Proud Boys’ T-shirt.
The Proud Boys are an all-male group which originated in North America who have been widely condemned for their far-right views.
A man pictured in a Proud Boys shirt can be seen facing off with police at an Invasion Day protest in Melbourne
Police are pictured grabbing the man’s arm outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on January 26
The same man is again pictured facing off with another man wearing a shirt with an Aboriginal flag on it
Police are pictured grappling with a man during an Invasion Day protest in Melbourne where scenes turned ugly
The Proud Boys are an all-male group which originated in North America who have been widely condemned for their far-right views. Daily Mail Australia is not suggesting anyone in the photograph is a member of the group
About 2,000 Queenslanders turned up in Brisbane as the group marched from Musgrave Park in to Queens Gardens.
Demonstrators at the rally demanded the date of Australia Day be changed.
‘Today, me, my friends and family continue the fight my ancestors started and not let it die and hopefully get the message across,’ one protester told 9News.
Organisers of the event provided face masks and hand sanitiser for those in attendance and required everyone to register their contact details.
One of the more famous faces in the crowd was Quaden Bayles – a young Indigenous boy who made headlines last years becoming the target of bullies at his school.
The inspiring young man stood stood proud with a group of other protesters wearing an Aboriginal flag shirt.
A large number of demonstrators can be seen at an Invasion day protest in Brisbane with many in the crowd carrying signs with slogans
A man poses for the camera as protesters are seen during an Invasion Day rally in Brisbane, Australia, 26 January 2021
One of the more famous faces in the crowd was Quaden Bayles – a young Indigenous boy who made headlines last years becoming the target of bullies at his school
Quaden Bayles (centre) is seen during an Invasion Day rally in Brisbane, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Young Quaden raises his fist in solidarity with other protesters calling on Australia Day to be abolished
About 2000 Queenslanders turned up in Brisbane as the group marched from Musgrave Park in to Queens Gardens
An animated protester can be seen with both arms in the air as a large group of demonstrators gather in Brisbane
A man with an Australian flag and a monkey shirt can be seen speaking with police in Brisbane on January 26
The man in the monkey shirt is pictured looking at an officer as he holds and Australian flag
Similar scenes also played out in Adelaide, Newcastle and Canberra.
Massive crowds called for the date of Australia Day to be changed in Canberra as protesters descended Parliament House.
Protesters assembled at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy earlier this morning before marching up the hill.
The crowd chanted slogans, such as ‘always was, always will be, Aboriginal land’ as local elders spoke of why January 26 was a day of mourning for Indigenous people along with injustices still faced more than two centuries later, AAP reported.
While in Adelaide about 3,000 turned up to protest.
Two protesters are pictured outside Parliament House in Canberra with signs calling on the date of Australia Day to be changed
Police watch Indigenous and non-indigenous protesters during an Invasion Day rally in front of Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Indigenous and non-indigenous protesters are seen during an Invasion Day rally in front of Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, January 26, 2021
Australian hasn’t been as divided on our national day holiday as we were on January 26, 2021.