A new event acknowledging the suffering of Indigenous people after the arrival of Europeans will happen for the first time in Ballarat on January 26.
The Survival Day Dawn Gathering will take place in the early hours of Australia Day, which lands on a Sunday in 2020.
Ballarat's deputy mayor Cr Belinda Coates said the event was in line with the city's Reconciliation Action Plan and the council's commitment to being an Intercultural City.
The community event is supported by both the City of Ballarat and the Koorie Engagement Action Group.
This is recognition that January 26 is a day of mourning for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community membersDeputy mayor Cr Belinda Coates
Other Australia Day events such as a citizenship ceremony and the fireworks at Lake Wendouree are also scheduled to take place around that weekend.
The full details of the Survival Day event are not yet confirmed. However, it will certainly include a welcome to country as well as speeches from local Indigenous leaders.
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The City of Ballarat's Aboriginal liaison officer is working with community groups to finalise the exact format.
Cr Coates, who is also the co-chair of the Koorie Engagement Action Group, said: "This is recognition that January 26 is a day of mourning for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members."
"The gathering is to commemorate Sovereign First Peoples who fought in the frontier wars and those who died in widespread massacres that occurred across Australia during colonisation which began on January 26, 1788."
Karen Heap, the CEO for the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative, said: "Survival Day acknowledges that our people have not only survived, but that we are strong: strong in culture, in community and in self-determining a positive future.
"We encourage the community to be proud of their identity, acknowledging that past policies continue to impact our people today.
Attending the inaugural Survival Day event at Lake Wendouree is an opportunity for all community members to pay their respects and continue to walk together to encourage harmonyKaren Heap, CEO of the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Co-operative
"Attending the inaugural Survival Day event at Lake Wendouree is an opportunity for all community members to pay their respects and continue to walk together to encourage harmony.
"Attendance is a matter for individual decision."
The third version of the City of Ballarat's Reconciliation Action Plan was approved by councillors earlier this year.
In the introduction to the plan, the City of Ballarat's vision is described as "to acknowledge through actions, as well as words, the histories and continuing contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."
"We acknowledge that the trauma of genocide still has an impact and resonates with people today. Ballarat has become the home to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from right across Australia, sometimes under difficult circumstances; such as being survivors of the Stolen Generations."
Ballarat stands on land that traditionally belonged to the Wadawurrung and Dja Dja Wurrung peoples. Five orphanages in the city are also known to have received members of the Stolen Generation, who were removed from their families over several decades.
The Survival Day gathering, which is listed in the events calendar of the council's My Ballarat magazine, starts at 5.30am on January 26. The full details are likely to be released in the coming weeks.
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