Across the country on Wednesday, tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets to mark January 26 as a national 'Day of Mourning'.
In Sydney and Brisbane, protesters young and old marched through the CBD, carrying assortments of flags and signs, mourning the deaths of over 450 Aboriginal people who have died in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission.
However, across regional Australia, small communities are starting to make waves as well.
For the first time ever, in Castlemaine in central Victoria, the local council has collaborated with the Dja Dja Wurrung community to mark the day with a joint Australia Day/Survival Day event.
Uncle Rick Nelson - Dja Dja Wurrung elder and leader of Nalderun, the local Aboriginal community group - has been collaborating with Mount Alexander Shire for more than 20 years.
Their latest collaboration this year is their first ever joint January 26 event and Uncle Rick said the event was a necessary move towards reconciliation.
"It's important because we strongly work for reconciliation - which takes a village," he said.
"But we all live here together, so, we need to recognise it together.
"The Aboriginal nation has survived a couple hundred of years, so we need to mark that."
The day, organised by both the council and Nalderun group, saw an Australia Day citizenship ceremony, followed by a Survival Day concert, MC'd by Rick himself.
Despite sweltering heat, several local Aboriginal musicians performed for crowds in Victoria Park, marking the shire's ongoing commitment to elevating local Dja Dja Wurrung voices.
The concert was opened by didgeridoo players Jason Kerr and Alvin Briggs and followed by performances from D'Arcy Spiller, The Rattlers and Tjima and Natji Possum with Burns and Shantay.
Rick says the collaboration is a result of years of working with the council, trying to bring Aboriginal issues to the forefront in the community.
"We have a partnership with council now," he said, "We meet with them four times a year for a round table to discuss local community issues."
Mount Alexander Shire Mayor, Councillor Bill Maltby said the event was a fantastic opportunity for the community to come together.
"Our Australia Day - Survival Day event gave our community the chance to reflect on our nation's history, which began with the First Australians tens of thousands of years ago," said Mayor Maltby.
Uncle Rick says while there is still much work to be done in the community, the event is a positive step forward.
"People want a 'Day of Mourning' here, and that's a conversation that needs to be had," he said
"But today we're here celebrating Survival."
Uncle Rick isn't alone in his advocacy in the region - local Indigenous groups have been rallying for change for some years.
Castlemaine Aboriginal rights activist and member of Mount Alexander's Indigenous Round Table Vic Say spoke out in 2020 about renaming local street names.
"Yandoit, Yapeen, Tarrengower, Baringhup...They're all Dja Dja Wurrung words of local places and they don't exist anywhere else in the world," he told the Castlemaine Mail in November.
The local Dja Dja Wurrung community are strong and proud of their ancestral roots, and have been advocating for change in the region for decades.
In 1856, the Daylesford Press published the following poem by an unnamed author.
"Hidden by eternal night Our dusky friend foes out of sick His People long have ceased to roam The forest of their inland home. And those who cane - for wealth and fame, Too often scorned the native name. Will those who cherish things of yore Those ancient names again restore? Lest all forget, will you make sure That their rich cadences endure?"- Daylesford Press, 1856
The Castlemaine event has a long way to go, as reconciliation, treaties and a national 'Day of Mourning' continue to be called for across the nation.
However, the town is setting the agenda for other regional councils to lift their game and start collaborating with their local Aboriginal communities for events in the future.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.