The first national “Day of Mourning” was on January 26, 1938. This was in response to the 150th Anniversary of Invasion, and more directly a response to years of petitioning government to recognise not only the sovereignty of Aboriginal people but that our voice be heard in the Australian Parliament.

Letters written by William Cooper asked:

“Signed by 1814 people of the Aboriginal race, praying His Majesty the King to exercise the Royal Prerogative by intervening for this prevention of our race from extinction and to grant representation to our race in the Federal Parliament.”

It was decided by Cabinet that this letter would not be presented to the king, King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II.

Of course, this brings me to the announcement of a Day of Mourning for Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, a designated time for one to mourn. A public holiday with strict, rigid rules and procedures followed by nation leaders around the world.

They announced this national holiday on Sunday, September 12, four days after the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. And I don’t want to come across like I’m petty, but that letter from William Cooper was written in 1933 and we, as Aboriginal people, are still fighting for our voices to be heard.