It is nearly time for another Australia Day and all the celebrations that go with it. Contemporary Australia Day is a reflection on the diverse society and landscape of the nation, and is marked by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies welcoming people in to the Australian community. I love Australia. I thank my lucky stars every day that I was privileged enough to be born in to such a beautiful and free country. But I do not CELEBRATE Australia Day.
On the 26th January 1788 the First Fleet landed in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) marking the start of a nation… and a genocide.
For the Indigenous Australians I share my country with, Australia Day is a reminder of the day their untouched way of life was so brutally taken from them. The British settlers who arrived called Australia Terra Nullius, which translates to no man’s land in Latin. They believed it was an empty space to be colonised by the British and was subject to British law – effectively saying that Indigenous Australia was invisible.
Fortunately most Australians have moved from this view and believe this should never have happened. Most now understand that the first Australians lived here in complete balance with the fragile Australian environment, and for 50000 years they used their well established methods to nurture and mold the environment, and built one of the oldest untouched and diverse cultures in human history.
Australia Day is supposed to be a celebration of togetherness, community and diversity. I feel saddened that this is supposed to be reflected on the anniversary of the First Fleet arriving in Sydney Harbour with a cargo load of convicts. I believe we should have a serious discussion about changing the date, I suggest the day Australia was officially named.
I know this view is not widely shared with others, and I mean no disrespect to those people.
Check out this great article, about changing Australia Day to First Fleet Day, by Dick Smith in The Age.
You can also check out my experience of having Australia Day in Thailand here.
When do you think Australia Day should be?