26 January 2017
*This blog post some people may find controversial, and the music video is quite emotive, so if you’d rather not read it, please scroll on to my next blog post..
“On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. It’s the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation. It’s the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.”
– The above is taken from www.australiaday.org.au
Australia is a wonderful country, a beautiful nation completely surrounded by sea, with it’s eight states and territories. We have a rich and diverse culture, comprised of people with family backgrounds from all over the world. Every single person in Australia, You and I, our neighbours, friends, family, everyone… Are what make this country great. We are all a part of this great country, and are so privileged to live in one of the most wonderful parts of the world.
While we should all be appreciative of the richness, diversity, and wonder of this great nation every day, it’s good to also have a national day, where we can all reflect on what makes our country great. To reflect on our country’s history, and think about our future. To be present, and come together with our fellow people. On our national day, there are celebrations, concerts, events, Australian of the year awards. Fun times to be appreciative of this great country we call home.
Though every year, there are people who have very real, and very terrible memories brought back to them on January 26. For those who didn’t know, Australia Day is also known, by thousands and thousands of people, as Invasion Day. The day when european people arrived in Australia, on January 26, 1788, and placed the british flag, claiming possession of the country. It was on this day in 1788, that the darkest part of our country’s history began. Australia was already home to indigenous people, for thousands of years. And it was on this day that the invasion began. It was on this day that the killing began.
January 26 brings back horrific memories, and emotions that will never disappear, for many people.
There have been protests all across the country today, as happens each year, by thousands of people, wanting to change the date of Australia Day. Thousands of people stand together, respecting indigenous people who hurt on this day. And calling for change.
I call for change too. I love Australia, and I’m so proud and lucky to have been born here, and to live in such a wonderful country. I’m respectful of all the people who call our country home, whether they were born here or not. And of course I am respectful of the traditional owners of this land. I’ve heard a lot of stories of people who have been directly affected by the brutal part of our nation’s history that we would all rather forget. But it can not be forgotten, and never will be. For many, January 26 will always be a bad day.
So what should we do? It’s simple. And many people are calling for this. To simply change the date of Australia Day! Change it to January 1st, Federation Day, marking the date in 1901 when Australia Day was declared to be an independent nation. Change it to whatever date you want really, just not January 26, a date that many people would like to try to forget, rather than be reminded of every year!
These people protesting in cities across the country today, do you think they want to be out there on the streets protesting on a day we should be celebrating? No, they don’t. Because they, like many of us, want to see the date changed, so they can celebrate, and not have to protest.
*The music video below is quite emotive, so you may decide not to watch it. It is by A.B Original, and Dan Sultan, and called ‘January 26’.
This song reflects a lot of emotion. It is not disrespectful to our country. It is not disrespectful to the flag. It is an expression of the deep hurt of celebrating and waving the flag, on this date.
I have never celebrated Australia Day. I am always and every day appreciative of our country, and it’s people. On Australia Day I see the celebrations, and I feel the joy of our country being as one, our people being as one. I see our country as a land of opportunity, for everyone. With fairness and equality becoming more and more prevalent. I respect our fertile and wild land, and all it’s beauty. I respect the traditional owners of this great land.
I also feel the hurt of our indigenous people, who are constantly reminded of the hurt that began in 1788, and continued unrelentlessly for a long time..
Times have changed a lot in the last few years, for the better, in respecting our indigenous culture, and apologising for the past as it happened. I’m sure if any one of us, from the 21st century, could go back to 1788 and change things, we would.
But we can’t. What we can do though, is to celebrate our wonderful country and it’s past and present people, from all faiths and all walks of life.. to come together as one.. on a day that doesn’t also bring so much heartache for a lot of people.
Change the date. I stand with you.
Once the date of of our national day is changed… Mate then I’ll wish you a Happy Australia Day.