Celebrating Australia

I initially started out to do a fun, positive, upbeat post about Australia Day.  I had even snagged a few fun memes about the day and the country from over at Phil’s Phun (Phil is an Aussie, you know).  But then, I discovered that not everybody in Australia is all that happy to observe a national commemoration on January 26th, and with good reason.  It’s reminiscent of our own Christopher Columbus Day in October that … well, should really be ended.  According to an article I found on VOA (Voice of America) News …

The first fleet of British convicts arrived in Sydney on Jan. 26, 1788, but Aboriginal groups mourn what they call “Invasion Day.”  Australia’s national day is controversial because it is held on a date marking British colonization. Aboriginal Australians have led the charge for it to be commemorated at a different time of the year. 

Cricket bosses have removed the term “Australia Day” from promotional material for matches because they insist it was a time of “mourning” for many Indigenous players. Many Australia Day events this year are being scaled back or postponed because of COVID-19 restrictions, but the clamor for the date to be altered is likely to be undiminished.

Australia’s Indigenous peoples make up about 3% of the national population. They believe that high rates of unemployment, poverty and incarceration are the direct result of the dispossession and marginalization caused by European colonization that began in 1788.

Aus-mapSadly, Australia’s current Prime Minister Scott Morrison seems rather oblivious to the pain the date recalls.  He is angry that the cricket teams will not be touting the day, and says, “When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney all those years ago, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.”  This statement in itself reminds me so much of the person we here in the U.S. just voted out of the Oval Office … no empathy, no consideration for others’ feelings.  And he doesn’t even know the history of his nation, for according to historians there were 11 ships, not 12.

So now, I am torn.  I have a number of Australian blogging friends and I want to honour their country, and yet, I fully understand the reasons that this day should not be one of celebration, for it would be rather like celebrating the arrival of the first slave ships on U.S. soil … not something to be proud of.  So, instead of writing about the day and the tragedies of history, I will share a few of the beautiful areas and wildlife of Australia and drink a toast to all my Aussie friends … Paul, Andrea, Simeon, Anne, and all the rest!  Cheers, my friends — you guys live in a beautiful country!  🥂

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Uluru, the iconic monolith, also known as Ayers Rock, is the emblem of Australia. The massive sandstone rock is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Uluru, one of Australia’s World Heritage Sites, is sacred to its indigenous custodians. The monolith is now off-limits for climbers.

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Iconic Sydney Opera House

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The Great Barrier Reef is located off the east coast of Queensland and is one of Australia’s natural wonders and a World Heritage Site.

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The Twelve Apostles, the collection of limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park in Victoria.

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The ‘Totem Pole’ from the last lookout of the Cape Hauy Track, in Tasman National Park, Tasmania.

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Weedy Sea Dragon

Lake Hillier, whose pink hue defies scientific explanation. 

I think that Australia has some of the cutest wildlife on the planet!  My two favourites are the Quokka and the Koala, but they are all beautiful!

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Baby Echidna, aka Hedgehog

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Kangaroo with Joey in the pouch

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Koala

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Quokka

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Tasmanian Devil

25 thoughts on “Celebrating Australia

  1. Hi there Jill! We are Marlena and Kurt! This was such a lovely post! Such beautiful pictures, we absolutely adored Australia!! Kurt’s favorite animal is the wombat (he shared a really special moment with one that involved a really attached wombat that loved butt scratches). You should read our post on it if you want. haha I really loved the wallaby’s, feeding them by hand was an incredible experience!! We did not get the pleasure of seeing the “Echidna” though. Darn! We must go back! 😍

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Marlena and Kurt, and welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and the pictures! I have never been to Australia, so I am jealous of your experience, especially with the wombat! I’ve always thought they, along with koalas, are the cutest animals on earth! Yes, you must go back someday and take lots of pictures to send to me!!!

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  2. The date should not be changed at all. You have a photo of Sydney Cove where you see the Cruise Ship is the actual landing of the First Fleet.
    If you were to Visit the State Library in Macquarie Street Sydney you could sit down and read journal after journal. Of what actually took place back in those days.
    Invasion lives were lost on both sides.
    The Aboriginals have made a lot of ground over the last fifty years of settlement.
    I am not racist but how many countries raise three different flags to keep harmony within a country.
    The Australian Anthem was recently changed just one word on the second line.
    The first line depicts us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m with Anne and the others. There is nothing to be celebrated about colonization, especially when it’s justified as ‘Terra Nullius’ – meaning empty land. No treaties were ever signed with the First Peoples, and the massacres were swept under the Settlers’ rugs. They were not mentioned at all, not in the Australian history I was taught at school. But the attempted genocide went even further, with government policy aimed at allowing full blooded Aboriginals to ‘die out’. I’m sick of being ashamed. There needs to be a truth telling, and an acknowledgement that everything we enjoy /today/ was bought with blood money. Apologies, but this is something I feel very strongly about. 😦

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  4. Thank you for your thoughtfulness, Jill. I believe it is wrong to have a day of national celebration on a date that only represents loss of culture, land and language for indigenous people. The ensuing massacres and dispossession created trauma that remains unhealed. As Eschudel says there can be no reconciliation without truth. So let’s change the date to one that all Australians can celebrate.
    I am blowing kisses your way for including the photo of the weedy sea dragon. It is an amazing creature, and one of my special favourites! The leafy sea dragon is another gorgeous creature. 😘
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leafy_seadragon

    Liked by 2 people

    • My pleasure, Anne! Yes, they certainly could have picked a better date. There is so much to celebrate about Australia, why sully the celebration by memorializing a date that harmed so many? Awwww … thanks for the kisses! And for the info about the leafy sea dragon … fascinating! My brother-in-law used to raise sea horses, but I had never heard of the leafy sea dragon until I began doing research for this post. They are indeed gorgeous! Keep well, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I said my piece in my reply to David, and I hope my true feelings came through loud and clear, But that was then, and this is, unhappily, now. We too must at the very least earn to live with present day reality. But can real healing take place when a great number of whites do not take responsibility for what their ruthless colonizing ancestors did to our welcoming-with-open-arms ancestors? Can a drunk heal if they do not admit they are an alcoholic? (Actually they can, but it is more thorough if they do.)
    And the biggest question of the day, can Democrats make true peace with Republicans? I fear the answer to all of those questions is Probably not! unless some huge changes are made. Who here is willing to make those changes?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes I think international bloggers can find themselves with theses dilemmas. Sticking to nice photos is a good idea! My doctor sister in Australia worked for a while in Aboriginal health in a country town. There is nothing simple about raising standards, closing the gap, but everyone, including the prime minister, has to learn to respect the land that is sacred to the people who have been there for many millenia, not just see it as a mining opportunity.

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    • It is like a minefield, and so easy to unintentionally offend some, which I do try hard not to do. Can’t go wrong with pictures of adorable animals, though! We have the same situation here … the government starts oil pipelines that go through Native American lands, pollute their water and soil, without a thought. The comments I read by Scott Morrison gave me the impression his conscience is nearly non-existent and like Donald Trump, it’s all about money, not people.

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      • Yes, my sister is permanently furious with him and the others. At present the Australian government and especially the Western Australian state government, are basking in the deserved praise for their firm handling of the pandemic.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Most of my Australian blogging buddies do not like Morrison much at all. They have handled the pandemic well, but not so much the fires last year, from what I hear/read. Hah! Any country has handled the pandemic better than my own! We have the highest death rate, though we have only 4% of the world’s population! Hopefully, that is about to change.

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    • In my mind, Jan. 26th should be a day of national mourning, and colonized countries all over the word should be honouring it together. Does anyone even know the date the first colonists arrived on a New World shore. Africa especially should have a day of mourning for the date the first slavers arrived there!
      My condolences to original Australian humans, may they one day own their own soil once again, though like the original humans inhabitants of the lands now called the Americas (I spit on the soil where Colombo first landed in an attempt to give it healing), we can never get our lands back from the colonizing thieves.
      European-spawned peoples should be called on to apologize to non-white humans everywhere for their culture of superiority and colonization.
      The worst part of Colombo’s perfidy, though, was naming the original human inhabitants of the lands now known as the Americas Indians, which stole our very identity from us. We are not now, and never were, Indians. Indians live in or come from India! ‘Nuff said!
      And calling our lands after some Europen sailor, that too is criminally demeaning and thoroughly disrespectful.
      Before white men came to these lands where we were born, lived, and died, there was no such thing as land ownership. Even areas which we chose to inhabit were fluid, and ever changeable, because it belonged to all of us. Now European-spawned people own the best areas, and we are suffered to live on mostly unwanted pieces of land that can barely support human life. Thanks, Whitey!
      The irony is that even Christoforo Colombo is now Christopher Columbus. He who named us Indians is now called by an English bastardization of the name his mother gave him…

      Liked by 3 people

    • I agree … Australia has much to be proud of, but like every nation, there is a dark side to its history that must also be acknowledged. Glad you liked the animals … I could happily devote this entire blog to animals … so much nicer than some humans!
      Cwtch

      Liked by 1 person

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