It’s Australia Day today, January 26.
That is why I would like to share this quote from the website timeanddate.com with you:
On January 26, 1788, the First Fleet of 11 ships from Great Britain arrived at Port Jackson, which now forms Sydney Harbour. The First Fleet was led by Captain Arthur Philip. He established the Colony of New South Wales, the first penal colony in Australia. By 1808, January 26 was being celebrated as “First Landing Day” or “Foundation Day” with drinking and merriment. (…) From 1946, January 26 was known as Australia Day in all states.
As well as Chelsea Bond who states the following:
If there is ever a day that I don’t feel Australian, it would be on Australia Day.
My mother is a fifth-generation Australian of English and Irish heritage and my father is Munanjahli and an Australian-born South Sea Islander. Their marriage in 1968 for their families was the first time that “lives of black and white entwined”, in the words of Noonuccal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal. Their union blended two very different histories, cultures and experiences of citizenship in this country
Two very different takes on today. I consider this something which happens regularly in Australia, because in my opinion there is hardly any overlap between the two cultures (the European and the Indigenous). It should not be forgotten that Australia existed long before the current 244 years since Captain Cook first discovered this land mass.
There were people here who spoke different languages and who had things going for them. They had a history and had found a way to survive in this volatile climate. This land was theirs.
In my opinion, the European Australian generally has minimal knowledge of history and of what happened to the Indigenous people. Truth is that the Europeans came here and killed off the Indigenous people (in the case of Tasmania quite literally). There is nothing we can do about that now, except acknowledge and learn from the past and share this country equally.
Chelsea Bond finishes her article with a bunch of questions that I reckon every Australian should ask him or herself, because of this massive gap of knowledge, understanding and union between Indigenous Australians and European Australians:
How did you get to [this] place and who might’ve been there before you? Do you know about the nation on whose land you stand? If not, ask yourself why you don’t know the stories of your own country? Hey, maybe you could even step out to one of the marches taking place in our capital cities and commemorate January 26 with your fellow Australians – the first peoples of the land that you proudly call home.
Actually, I think every single person should ask themselves these questions. In Europe also we would do well to remember where we came from and how we became “great”. What we call the Golden Age in the Netherlands, for example, was not necessarily very great for other peoples involved.
History is an important aspect in going forward.
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Happy Australia Day to all Australians – whether you are celebrating or commemorating, because it was a defining moment in history.