Over 300,000 Australians rallied as the world gears up for what could be the largest climate protest in history

Rosie Perper/Business Insider
  • More than 300,000 Australians from across the country gathered Friday as part of planned global climate protests, organisers say.
  • Australia was one of the first countries to join the global Climate Strike protests, with hundreds of thousands of people expected to show up around the world.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Organisers say 300,000 Australians from across the country gathered Friday as part of the global Climate Strike protests planned around the world.

Students, teachers, activists, and people from all walks of life came together for the first rounds of protests in the Southern Hemisphere kickoff. The Friday protests were started by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist who protested outside the Swedish parliament.

In capital cities around Australia, including Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Darwin, and Hobart, people prepared signs and chanted slogans in favour of swift climate action. Hundreds of thousands of protesters were expected across the country, with businesses encouraging their staff to take time off to attend.

School Strike 4 Climate, the organisers of the event, estimate there were 100,000 people in Melbourne, 80,000 in Sydney, 30,000 in Brisbane, 20,000 in Adelaide, 20,000 in Hobart, 15,000 in Canberra, and 10,000 in Perth. Students and workers in more than 110 cities and towns across the country also held smaller rallies.

The movement is led by the youth, who were out in force at the protests and spoke with Business Insider about their motives for protesting.

“I want to ensure a better world for myself and my future kids,” Steffanie Tan, 22, of Melbourne, said. “If we don’t stand up to our government now, then we might not have a future to look forward to.”

A student named Kate McNess, 17, said, “It’s an important issue and it’s our future.” While, another 17-year-old student, Nishtha Sharma, said it was the only way she knew how to speak up. “This is basically the only way to have our voice heard,” she said.

Organisers say the goal of Australia’s strike was to ask the federal government to commit to:

  • No new coal, oil, and gas projects, including the Adani mine.
  • One-hundred per cent renewable energy generation and exports by 2030.
  • Funding transitions and job creation for all fossil-fuel industry workers & communities.

Scroll through to see photos of the crowds and signs from protests around the country.


Organisers say 80,000 people gathered at The Domain in Sydney.

Jenni Ryall/Business Insider Australia

Many used humour in their signs to get their point across.

Vanessa Lawrence/Pedestrian Group

Some used memes.

James Hennessy/Business Insider Australia

Others made popular-culture references to make a point.

Brad Esposito/Pedestrian Group

A few mentioned the melting polar ice caps.

Brad Esposito/Pedestrian Group

Other protesters shared their fears for the future in their signs.

Vanessa Lawrence/Pedestrian Group

Or channeled songs that the younger protesters may not even recognise.

Vanessa Lawrence/Pedestrian Group

Sometimes all you need is three letters: O No.

Vanessa Lawrence/Pedestrian Group

There were many signs insulting Australia’s conservative prime minister, Scott Morrison.

Brad Esposito/Pedestrian Group

And many truths were spoken.

Vanessa Lawrence/Pedestrian Group

Others paid their respects to Thunberg.

Jenni Ryall/Business Insider Australia

Students were at the centre of the protest.

Brad Esposito/Pedestrian Group

And so were kids.

Jenni Ryall/Business Insider Australia

It was hard to avoid the reality of what happens for the next generation.

Jenni Ryall/Business Insider Australia

In Brisbane, organisers estimated that 30,000 protesters marched across the Victoria Bridge.


Queens Gardens became so overcrowded that people began spilling into the street.


The crowd drew people young and old.

Jane Savage/Pedestrian Group

Organisers say Hobart drew the most people of any rally in its history.


Melbourne drew the most people, organisers say, with more than 100,000 people estimated to have taken to the Old Treasury Building.

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

“These pants took me nine hours,” said Emma Ocic, 17. “I’m studying fashion and want to become a completely sustainable designer one day.”

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

“The air is toxic, the reef is dying,” she said. “A lot of people my age are waking up.”


Some young protesters dressed up as the Dr. Seuss character the Lorax.

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

One brave protester climbed on top of a statue and put a “Stop Adani” T-shirt over it.

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

Other kids made poignant statements.

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

And said it was up to Australians whether to do more to save the planet.

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Not only for those living today but also for the generations ahead.

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

Australia came out in full force.

Rosie Perper/Business Insider

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