Replaced with Yabun Fest to show respect
It will continue to hold a “respectful citizenship ceremony” on January 26, but the celebration in Enmore Park will instead become a summer children’s and families festival, to be held on another date and the Citizen of the Year awards will move to a different date.
The council is encouraging its community to attend the Yabun Festival on January 26 to celebrate and learn about the history of the world’s oldest, continuous, human civilisation.
Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said that the move was about recognising that January 26 was a day that represented sadness for many Aboriginal Australians.
“It’s a small but respectful act of recognition,” he said. “The right thing to do.
“Attitudes towards January 26 are changing in the community. For Aboriginal people, the date represents the beginning of colonisation, dispossession, the removal of children and deliberate destruction of language and culture. A growing number of Australians want that to be respectfully acknowledged.
“In the Inner West we are choosing to change the nature of the day to one of commemoration not celebration.”
He says the community will not be losing anything, but instead will be marking the day in a more mature and thoughtful way.
“We think the focus of January 26 should be Yabun, a large Aboriginal-run festival that’s on the edge of the Inner West Council area. We don’t want to have a festival competing with that event,” he said.