Survival Day

‘Our Original Heroes’ Artists: Tim Guider & Frank Wright

Sydney Fringe is proud to hold space for First Nations voices in the Arts and stands with them on the 26 January and celebrate First Nations survival and culture.

We asked Erica Brennan, a proud Gamillaroi woman and our First Nations Coordinator, to reflect on her experiences living in our city and being reminded that there is a history here longer than what Australia day might ask us to believe. She has also pulled together a list of engaging Indigenous led events and resources for you to enjoy and reflect on this day.


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One night, on your way into the CBD for dinner with friends you might find yourself slipping down Crystal Street to join Parramatta Rd. You might not make the green light, so you’ll need to idle your car for a few minutes.

You might turn your head to discover this street mural.

‘Who are they?’ You’ll ask your mate in the passenger seat and they’ll begin to furiously google on their phone.

Barangaroo and Bennelong.

She was a Cameragaleon fisherwoman most likely present at the first meeting between the white newcomers and the women at what is now known as Manly in 1788. A powerful figure and keeper of knowledge.

He was a Wangal man thrust into history by an abduction where he became a mediator and interpreter. Married to Barangaroo and the first aboriginal man to visit Europe and return.

They are here, and we remember as we reflect on this day.

Erica Brennan

More info about Barangaroo

More info about Bennalong

Link to artist’s info


January 26 is the date which marks the 1788 landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove and has historically been known as Australia Day but for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as well as non-Indigenous people this day is not seen as a day of celebration but of mourning. For First Nations people this day is recognised as Survival Day or Invasion Day, because from this day in 1788 onwards, First Nations people suffered massacres, land theft, stolen children and widespread oppression at the hands of the colonising forces.

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