THE local artists who installed the series of signs denouncing Australia Day say it is time for First Nations' voices to be heard and respected.
The group, who want to remain anonymous, installed the posters outside the City of Greater Bendigo's Lyttleton Terrace office on Sunday morning.
"For too long First Nations people have been an afterthought," they said in a written statement.
"There is no better example than the 'celebrations' that take place on a day long considered an Aboriginal day of mourning.
"January 26 has been a day of remembrance and mourning for us since 1938, yet has only been formerly recognised as Australia Day since the '90s.
"That it remains unrecognised by Australian governments as a solemn day to memorialised, such as Anzac or Remembrance Days, is insensitive and hurtful."
The installers said the City of Greater Bendigo celebrated other cultures while little recognition was given to the region's First Nations people.
"Where is our cultural centre or Indigenous garden?" they said.
"The creation of such a centre would not only serve as a site of recognition and memorial, but also offer economic opportunities through tourism and arts development.
"Council however continues to celebrate colonial achievements on a day that excludes us. The date needs to change so that we too can celebrate.
"Council can show true commitment to reconciliation by cancelling future Australia Day events, and planning instead for celebrations that are inclusive of Aboriginal history."
City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Margaret O'Rourke said there needed to be a discussion at a broader level.
"While we respect people's right to express their opinions, advancing reconciliation requires continuous, respectful discussions," Cr O'Rourke said.
"If people choose to celebrate today, we ask that they do it respectfully and we understand there will be Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians that do not see today as a celebration.
"Across the country there are various views on Australia Day and this important national discussion needs continuous leadership at all levels."
The signs have been taken down outside of the Lyttleton Terrace office. A City of Greater Bendigo spokesperson said the city was not responsible for their removal.
A NUMBER of signs calling for an end to Australia Day celebrations have been installed in front of the City of Greater Bendigo offices.
The signs were found posted in front of the Lyttleton Terrace building on Sunday morning.
The posters show messages like "we are mourning whilst Bendigo celebrates," and "no pride in genocide".
It comes as a number of Australia Day events take place in the Greater Bendigo region.
Many Indigenous Australians refer to January 26 as Invasion Day or Survival Day, after British Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Sydney Cove in 1788 to formally take possession of the NSW colony and raise the British flag for the first time.
The City of Greater Bendigo has been contacted for comment.
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