The 26th of January 1788 saw the First Fleet land at Sydney Cove to begin the European colonisation of Australia. We mark that date with a public holiday every year – it is a chance to celebrate with our friends and family what we think it means to be Australian. BBQ’s in the backyard, pool parties, alcohol, cricket, and JJJ’s Hottest 100 are recurring elements from almost every one of my Australia Day celebrations, but unfortunately I didn’t have any lamb this year…
I’m not sure what it is but for some reason, Australia Day seems to bring out both the best and worst in people. From the Kalgoorlie race riots in 1938 through to yesterdays semi-violent protests, Australia Day seems to be used as an excuse to incite violence against those who are deemed “unaustralian”. It is disappointing that we continue to see this race issue crop up year after year, and pictures like this give an impression to the world of what it’s really like to live here:
It is actions like this that tarnish Australia Day for everyone. When we look at them we question whether or not we are proud to be Australian because people act like this in the name of Australia.
Am I proud to be Australian? Of course I am. We do so much good as a nation and it is those actions we should acknowledge and be proud of. Our professionals are leading the world in a bunch of different fields, are economic strength has allowed us to provide generous support to struggling nations in this time of financial crisis, and for the most part we are just a bunch of people lucky enough to live in a country where we can take a day off to BBQ some lamb and listen to some music.
Not all images from Australia day are bad, and I will leave you with one of my favourites – my nephew gearing up to celebrate what it means to be an Aussie.