As some of you may know, today is Australia Day (26 January). But what actually is Australia Day? Today isn’t just all about having a public holiday (a nice bonus though that was introduced in 1994), but it is a day that we can reflect upon our diverse society and landscape. A day we can think about all of the amazing achievements and what our future may hold for us. And even more exciting, a day for the new Australian citizens who can call themselves Australian after being conferred citizenship.
The 26th of January is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet. To give a bit of background, the First Fleet were 11 convict (a criminal who has been charged) ships sailing over from Great Britain. On this day in 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip (who later became Governor) also raised the Union Jack at Sydney Cove.
Australia Day also has its dark side. This day isn’t as simple as the day we were discovered by the British. Today there is a lot of talk of it being ‘Invaders Day’. Why you may ask? Well before the British arrived the Aboriginal people lived here (they still do today but I would like to keep this simple and as non-controversial as I can) and called this land home. For the Aboriginal people, the British came in and invaded their land and killed their people. Not really a day that you ought to celebrate but a day that is slowly evolving into a more culturally diverse (and celebrating our past) day but it still has a long way to go so that everyone feels wanted and accepted. Today, Australia Day celebrations strive to include more Aboriginal culture in to the day.
I like to think that Australia Day is a day that all Australians come together to celebrate what is great about Australia and being Australian. This is day that we can sit back with our friends and family and reflect on what we have achieved as a nation. This is a day that we can actually be proud of what we have done. It really is a day that we could strive towards making Australia an even better place to live for everyone. And I mean everyone.
Overall, Australia Day is a day for celebration. Celebrating the Australian people (no matter where they are from), the Australian landscape, the Australian way and more importantly, the Australian future.