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.
Sadly, 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! 🥂
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!