Revisiting The History Of Australia’s First Nations People In Sydney Mardi Gras

Photo: Jeffrey Feng

First Nations people will lead this year’s historic Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade in March.

The organisers of the First Nations float say their inclusion highlights their proud Indigenous history and their present day fight for equality.

As Mardi Gras celebrates its 40th anniversary this year, this year also marks the 30th anniversary of the official First Nations float in the parade.

Originally, it served as a political statement about Australia’s 1988 bicentennial celebrations, which organisers say failed to acknowledge over 40 thousand years of Indigenous history.

ACON Aboriginal Project Officer Vanessa Orchers said in a statement this year’s float “will take us back to where it all began for the First Nations LGTBQI community in the parade.”

“Our float this year is called ‘Revolution’, and is created and led by First Nations people of diverse gender and sexuality, together with family, friends and supporters,” Orchers said.

“The theme highlights that we can be successful in achieving equality in all LGBTQI communities around Australia, including Indigenous peoples.

“The float will be led by an historical Aboriginal flag that was created by a group of our LGTBQI in the community, as well as the Captain Cook costume that was worn by the late Malcolm Cole in the original 1988 float 30 years ago.”

The First Nations parade bus will carry distinguished guests, including elders and their families, along the parade route and music will be provided by duo Electric Fields.

Organisers said Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people interested in joining the float should go to the ACON Aboriginal Project Facebook page for details on how and when to register for the float’s limited places.

To learn more about the participation of First Nations people’s entries in the Mardi Gras, an interactive timeline was created last year and can be viewed online here. Warning: the timeline contains photographs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have died.

The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade will be held on Saturday, March 3.

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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