An Australia Day celebration where more than 4,000 people said they were interested in attending has been cancelled following a barrage of abuse on social media. The event, called Floatopia was to be held at Gordons Bay on Australia Day next year and involves revelers bringing flotation devices and sound system down to the beach to celebrate the day.
In 2015, the floating party was held at Shelley Beach off Manly.
A number of people questioned the event on social media, claiming it was inappropriate to hold it on “invasion day” or the day in which Australia was colonised by Europeans.
One post said “Imagine I went and partied about someone in yr fam [sic] dying. That might be how it feels for some Aboriginal people.”
Another post said “Invasion Day is a day where drunk yobbos scream ‘straya’ for 12 hours and have absolutely no regard for the atrocities that have been and are still being committed to my race to this day. If you’re celebrating on the day of which my people suffered mass killings and genocide. Well then there is something seriously wrong with you.”
The discussion deteriorated from there, turning into a thread of racial insults with the organiser cancelling the event. Accusations were also made that the event would harm Gordons Bay.
“We don’t condone bullying, name calling, racism or any other type of mean spirited behaviour,” the organiser said.
“Watching that unfold over the last 12 hours is a pretty f***ing awful demonstration of humans.”
“We’re local ocean-loving hippies too and by no means do we support anyone harming beautiful Gordons Bay on this day or any other. So with that in mind, we’re pulling the event down.”
Within an hour, another event appeared on Facebook called the “Australia Day Floaty Party” using the same images as the previous Floatopia event.
Australia Day remains a bone of contention with the indigenous community, with many boycotting it due to the treatment of indigenous Australians following colonisation of Australia. It is commonly referred to as Invasion Day within the indigenous community and there have been calls for the date of Australia’s national holiday to be moved.