Saturday, January 26, 2019

Happy Australia Day

While today, the 26th is Australia Day, our public holiday for the day will be on Monday. Double time and a half for me at work on Monday.

Australian Day over the years occupies my thoughts more and more when the day nears. While I was never a 'it must be the 26th or else' person, I have come to think that perhaps the day should be changed, perhaps to May when we don't have a public holiday or perhaps in Spring when public holidays are scarce. I am sure there is something to celebrate in May and we could find something in Spring too.

Here is what I am now thinking. Britain claimed Australia for itself, in spite of there being an Aboriginal population estimated to be 3/4 of a million people. Defence of their land from foreigners was probably not on their minds and they must have been very tempted by bright and shiny things. Our ancestors brought diseases alien to the native population, they encroached further and further on their hunting, fishing and living land. They massacred local Aboriginal populations. The list is almost endless about the wrongs done by the colonialists against the local population. And look at what we have done to country in a little more than 200 years, sent it on the road to ecological and environmental ruin, whereas the Aborigines knew how to work with the land, not against it. Is it any wonder our Aborigines call Australia Day, Invasion Day.

Well, that is what my and perhaps your ancestors did. It wasn't right and no one can argue that it was. But, I am here now and I am not going to go away. It is now my country too. I know no other and I am too born of its soil.

Here is another aspect to it, as in a Tweet I saw. Why do we celebrate the day of claiming Australia as a prison island of Britain?

I really do think the date of the 26th of January is anachronistic for we newer inhabitants of our continent, and offensive to those who were here for hundreds of thousand years.

Nevertheless, a very Happy Australia Day to you, and happy Indian Republic Day to those here and on the subcontinent. Indians are a pretty good fit in Australia.

No info available to credit the photo.

44 comments:

  1. YES. I am the first Australian born member of my family, but I am (despite not liking sport or Vegemite) Australian. I would happily see a day to celebrate chosen which has the potential to unify us. Wattle day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, I can forgive you for not liking sport, as I don't either, but not liking Vegemite! Wattle Day might be the ideal day.

      Delete
  2. Righteous Photo And Happy Day To You Brother Man

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  3. Andrew, Still at least you have a National Celebration Day. Our U.K National Day , St Georges Day (April 23rd) barely even gets a mention in our media thanks to the pc brigade. Even our own English St George's flag is treated with racist suspicion.
    The BBC has a lot to answer for. It must be the last institution to put up it's annual Christmas tree (seen each day on the News) at BBC News HQ, for fear of upsetting groups and non Christians that don't celebrate English culture.
    As a kid I always remember having to wear my Scout uniform to School on St George's Day. But I fear that our National Day is being buried and forgotten. Being patriotic here in The United Kingdom of Political Correctness now has racist overtones.
    The news that the BBC puts out internationally worldwide is not quite the same as our own internal BBC biased and unfair news coverage. Their handling of Brexit is disgraceful, being pro Europe.

    Anyway, I hear it's finally cooling down in Melbourne.
    Happy Invasion Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dee, interesting to hear your perspective on the UK. The flag of St George should not be contentious. None of our tv stations have a Christmas tree. Your last sentence about the BBC is noted. Cooler, but still unpleasantly warm and the air con is still on.

      Delete
  4. I am glad you remembered to say happy Indian Republic Day to Indians everywhere - I did not remember their day.

    Indians are a very good fit in Australia, and more Indians will be given Australian citizenship today than any other national group, even British.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, given the numbers of Indian immigrants, and that they tend to have many children, it is just as well that they are a good fit, and work and pay taxes to support us oldies.

      Delete
  5. I am conflicted about the date of our national day.As you rightly say it is the anniversary that a penal settlement was established by the English.It also is the anniversary of the beginning of the destruction of the first people's way of life. The date could be changed because it's really irrelevant to how I feel about our amazing country which I think is the best in the world even with all its imperfections.Happy Australia Day !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheryl, while I will step back from saying it is the best country in the world, it is not half bad. Yes, I think we could find a better day, one that we can all agree on and I rather like the idea using Wattle Day.

      Delete
  6. Happy Australia Day ..... I am like Cheryl Gardiner on thinking about the date and should we change it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lady J, it seems so far as per comments, we all agree. There could be a better day.

      Delete
  7. Happy Australia Day to you - I forgot about it, as once it was celebrated as it is today by many.
    Did you know that King Bungaree was the first person from this country (Australia) to circumnavigate the continent with Matthew Flinders from 1802 to 1803. There is no statue of this Aboriginal in Australia.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, I am sure you have local celebrations for the day. I did not know about Bungaree and thanks very much for the info. Melbourne certainly has a statue of Matthew Flinders.

      Delete
  8. Anonymous12:21 pm

    Celebrate on January 1 when the Federation of Australia was formed. Then you can extend the New Year's Eve piss up for another day.
    Also Happy Birthday to Ellen DeGeneres, 61 today. - Ian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No Ian. We would lose a public holiday, unless like the Scots we have hangover public holiday after NYE.

      Delete
  9. A public holiday in May would be nice, already too many holidays in January. Being a recent Australian citizen I tend not to give my opinion on these matters, but the discussion about a change to Australia Day has been going on for years, I wish someone would make a decision!!
    Happy Australia day Andrew!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sami, you have your piece of paper. You are Australian. You have a perfect right to offer your opinion about your country.

      Delete
    2. You're quite right Andrew and I do agree with your opinion and don't know why it's taking so long for things to change!

      Delete
  10. What Deejohn failed to mention was that the English are actively encouraged to celebrate St Patrick's Day, St Andrew's Day, and St David's Day; but heaven help any English person who mentions St George's Day. OK, we were a world colonial power (with all that went with it), but the PC brigade have made many English feel ashamed of their great country. It really makes you wonder why it's still the destination of choice for the world's refugees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cro, there is an awful lot that happened in England to be ashamed of, but all so long ago. Pretty sad about St George's Day, and they wonder why people embrace UKIP.

      Delete
    2. Cro, You're so right. I forgot to mention St Patrick's Day, an even bigger and more notable day in our English calendar.
      Yes we English have kind of adopted Paddy's Day due to the non existence of our own National Day plus the fact that so many Irish live here.
      Also my own Mother was from County Mayo so I'm half Irish.

      Delete
  11. I love that photo, all those sparklers in unison. When we were young, no one ever thought of Australia Day as Invasion day, that's a relatively new concept. I think simply setting foot upon this land for the first time can't be seen as invasion either, that came later with the taking of lands and killing of indigenous people. So I don't see any point in changing the date. Find another reason for a public holiday in May.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, I did not realise they were sparklers, but I see it now. I am not sure about the date. I really should check.

      Delete
  12. I've just read Cheryl Gardiner's comment, was the 26th the day the Penal Settlement was established? I don't know my history all that well, I thought Australia Day was when the English people first set foot upon our continent.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have long thought January 1 was a far more appropriate day, as that's the day of Federation, when we became an independent nation. January 26 remains a significant date, of course, because it's when Australia changed forever, but it's not the day we should celebrate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. James, apart from me saying piss orf, we would lose a public holiday, is Federation inclusive of Aborigines? I think Wattle Day might be more meaningful to them.

      Delete
    2. The most inclusive day would be if there was a treaty, or treaties. I work with a few NZ'ers, and they've organised a Waitangi Day lunch on February 6, NZ's national day, recognising the day of the treaty there.

      Delete
    3. Yes, it all began so differently in NZ.

      Delete
  14. I think everything should be changed...including attitudes. Why not change the date of Christmas Day...no one really knows if that is the correct date. It was just a chosen number. Easter is fine because it changes every year.


    I'm considering changing my birthday...the day and date are okay, but I might drag the year forward a few or more!

    Some people wouldn't be happy if they won a major lottery win!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lee, Christmas in July would be much more pleasant for Australians. Those hot ovens bursting with roasts would be welcome.

      I'd like to drag the year I was born a bit forward too. How many years could we get away with?

      Delete
    2. My mum claimed to be 26 until I was too, then she was 36 for a few years.

      Delete
    3. Funny, River. My mother would never tell people her age until recently when she discovered she get sympathy for being a poor old infirm 85 year old.

      Delete
  15. I too think it is about time the date was changed. I love EC's idea of Wattle Day. Works for me!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. When is Wattle day?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. September 1, I believe.

      Delete
    2. Maybe Wattle Day isn't such a good idea as we have a public holiday Friday Grand Final Eve in September for the first Saturday in September.

      Delete
  17. I have read a lot about Australia. What the UK did even until the 70th when they sent whole orphanats to Australia, to be cheap workers was certainly not nice !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gattina, the orphan business was terrible. Add to that indentured labour from nearby islands of people known as Kanakas.

      Delete
  18. As you know I absolutely agree, we should change the date.. it's no big deal for us but a HUGE deal for Indigenous Australians.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grace, you are so right. I want to celebrate Australia Day, but the 26th is meaningless to me. Just for once, maybe the Aborigines could have their say. Of course you will want it in the summer for the fireworks show, although I suppose they could happen in your winter too, as it is not so cold.

      Delete

Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.