Australia Day can be a difficult topic to discuss, especially for a white female of the origins of what is essentially the offending nation. By that I mean the Invaders. Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. If you want to know the history, and I think you should, then this link would be a good place to start. It was meant to be a place of settlement, not conquest, but the story is still one of entitlement, self imposed superiority and misplaced assumptions, and that's just the beginning.
I wasn’t born in Australia. I am what is “affectionately” known as a POM. (That’s another whole topic in itself, right? Check out this old article for a wonderful demonstration on how times have changed.) I am a First Page of Google type of 'researcher' when it comes to my blog posts, forgive me for only scratching the surface of these quite challenging topics, but I do find it quite fascinating that even Wikipedia holds a wonderful glossary of names for the British with the caveat This article is about terms applied to people, some of which are controversial. I mean, yikes!
I digress. The purpose of this opinion piece however, is to continue to encourage the conversation, not to be an expert. It is to encourage people to do their own research, and form their own opinion. For context, I am a naturalised immigrant who identifies as Australian. That is the probably the most PC sentence I have ever written.
So my ancestors, or my natural born nation, got it pretty fucking lucky. I mean they sent all their criminals here as punishment. To me, that’s like stealing a dollar, and being given a pot of gold as punishment....that is a little tongue in cheek obviously. I'm sure they were treated horrendously on their way over and certainly being shipped across the other side of the world against your will is not everyone's idea of a picnic, but in hindsight, that skullduggery meant their future generations got to share this wonderful place.
Look, I am not the most worldly or well travelled person, in fact I am pretty naïve, nay ignorant, of a lot of cultures, but in my view it is the most beautiful and amazing country I have ever had the pleasure of visiting, and I am even more lucky to be able to call it home, and to call myself part of it’s rich, varied and multicultural nation. In terms of it’s general philosophys, it’s people, it’s scenery, it’s community.
Incidently, did you know that the term "the lucky country" was originally meant to be derisive? The Lucky Country is a 1964 book by Donald Horne. Horne's intent in writing the book was to portray Australia's climb to power and wealth based almost entirely on luck rather than the strength of its political or economic system, which Horne believed was "second rate".
I have lived a very sheltered life. I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be a native indigenous person in this country, to know the stories of the horrors of the way their ancestors were treated. I can't possibly walk in their shoes. I have never been oppressed. The extent of my exposure to “racism” extends only to when Australia play England in the Ashes.
We can't ignore history altogether. We can’t change the fact that it happened, but we can learn from it. We can also listen to the people that it happened to. Really listen to their perspective, how we can make amends, if that is possible, or at least how we can learn from those past experiences and move forward together, hand in hand. We can learn from our mistakes as a nation and learn to do better. If that means changing the day, to one where we can celebrate ALL nations together as one, and celebrate who we want to be, then I am all for it.
These blogs are just my views of the world. It’s just my opinion and experiences. I will try to be as factually correct as possible, but I am human and I make mistakes. You are completely within your rights to disagree and question. Feel free to do so with dignity and respect, and I will do the same. That’s how we grow. Insults, bullying and blatant disregard for facts and the mental health and wellbeing of contributors will be deleted, and if deemed necessary reported to authorities. I’m not here to put up with bullshit.
“The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.”
― Albert Einstein