Australia Day prompts celebration and protest across the ditch

An estimated crowd of tens of thousands took to the streets of Melbourne today - not to celebrate Australia Day but to call for it to be axed.

Australia's national day of celebration is becoming increasingly fraught and even the flag is coming under fire.

Australia Day celebrates the 1778 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships Australian shores.

Every year on January 26, celebrations take place all over Australia, but the Australia Day marches in Melbourne took the form of protests.

"I'm still fighting today for what my old people have fought for, and it's a shame - shame on Australia," said one marcher.

The so-called Invasion Day March called for an end to the national day.

Nowhere is more iconic for celebration than Sydney Cove, where Britain's first fleet made the journey 230 years ago.

On Friday, many boats echoed that journey and sailed through the cove.

But colonial heroes like Captain Cook aren't always revered at this time of year and a small but growing voice of Australians want the country to realise why.

Rugby league legend Jonathan Thurston is a national hero and an indigenous voice.

"The injustices that were done all through over the years - there's a lot of hurt still there," he said.

He's also a finalist for Australian of the Year but sees little reason to celebrate today.

"People need to be educated on why our culture doesn't feel inclusive on this day," he said.


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