Friday, January 27, 2017

What Australia Day means to me...

Firstly, I am so proud to be Australian and really believe I am very fortunate to live in this wonderful country surrounded by such great people. I am also proud to call myself Aboriginal. 

For me, Australia Day is a day for all Australians to come together and celebrate what it means to be Australian, no matter where you have come from or how you got here. A celebration that should applaud our diverse society.

It should also be a time to reflect on our history and contemplate how we can make Australia an even better place in the future. 

January 26, the current day we celebrate Australia Day also marks the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain. A day that many Aboriginal people call Invasion Day. 

Therefore, January 26 is a day of mourning for them as they remember the suffering caused by government policies of assimilation and separation, as well as the violence of the Frontier Wars, which raged from 1788 to 1928.

I have no idea how affected my own family was by these events as there are no family records dating earlier than the late 1800's, but I can only assume they were affected in some way. And to be honest, the thought of their suffering makes my heart ache (as suffering is oft to do). 

The debate rages, and will continue to do so, over January 26 being the date we celebrate Australia Day.

I do question, why not change the date, so all Australians can celebrate this wonderful country we live in, instead of some mourning the occasion. 

Unfortunately we can't change the history, January 26 will always be known as Invasion Day for Aboriginal people and be a day they mourn. But the future is an open book, we can write whatever we want....we can celebrate this great country with a snag, a beer and the Triple J Hottest 100 any day. 

What does Australia Day mean to you?

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