On Hiroshima Day, on August 6, two events were held in Wollongong to remember the terrible events of 1945.
About 30 peace activists gathered around the Peace Plaque in the city mall to remember the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
This year, 30 people shared a one-minute silence at 8:15am, the time the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima.
The Illawarra Union Singers marked the occasion by singing several songs on the theme of peace. The people of Wollongong began to commemorate Hiroshima Day in the 1960s. Since 1979, an annual ceremony has been held to mark the time the bomb went off.
Later in the morning 100 people attended a rally that was held by the Wollongong Anti-Nuclear Group (TWANG) in opposition to nuclear weapons, uranium mining and the nuclear industry.
After being welcomed to country by local Aboriginal elder Uncle Reuben Brown the rally heard from a number of speakers.
Risa Tokunaga, an anti-nuclear activist from Japan, spoke about the bombing of Hiroshima and the ongoing struggle in Japan against nuclear power.
She also took the opportunity to remember the terrible crimes committed during the war by the Japanese Imperial army against the peoples of Asia, adding her voice to that of millions of Japanese people who call on their government to make a full and frank apology for the suffering caused during the war.
Arthur Rorris from the South Coast Labour Council pointed out that despite the advocates of nuclear power plants claiming that they are safe, they are inherently dangerous because they need to be built in coastal areas that are subject to tsunamis and climate change.
Samantha Dixon from the Illawarra Greens urged young people to get involved in the struggle. Finally, Christian Darby from Students Against War talked about the ongoing use of nuclear material as weapons of war in the form of depleted uranium.
He described the campaign by Wollongong university students against weapons research on campus.
The rally featured performances by the Union Singers and by TWANG member Dave Welsh who sang a song he composed about the Muckaty people’s struggle against a nuclear waste dump being built on their traditional lands.
TWANG is a new group that has been formed in response to the Fukushima disaster and to fight against the proposed nuclear waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory.
The group intends to continue to organise anti-nuclear events in Wollongong. Future plans under discussion include raising money for the Muckaty elders fight and holding a peace art exhibition.
Anyone interested in getting involved in the group can contact Alexander Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org.