Friday, 25 January 2013

Australia Day

Our recent visit to  Australia Zoo

So, its Australia Day again. Once known as 'First Landing Day' or 'Foundation Day' it is the day in 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the first fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain arrived at Sydney Cove and raised the Union Jack signalling the beginning of the colony now known as Australia. I was thinking about how and why my fellow Australians celebrate their day. For many of us it is another public holiday in which we get to enjoy BBQ's and our marvellous outdoors with friends and family.

I have friends who have arrived to our great country as refugees with nothing but their lives and harrowing memories of loss, suffering and survival. These amazing people are proud to be Australians and have graciously given back to our community by working hard, studying and becoming doctors, dentist and teachers. They celebrate Australia Day by getting involved and volunteering at various community events. I have other friends who have immigrated to our lands from Europe seeking a better life, a higher quality of education and more opportunities for their children; who proudly take part in local Australia day activities and social events  to celebrate their new found lives in this country they now call home. Again these people have given back to their new community by opening businesses and providing valuable services to their fellow Aussies

I know indigenous Australians who choose not to celebrate Australia Day, as for them it marks the day their country was invaded and is a day for the commemoration of deep loss, loss of their sovereign rights to their land, loss of family and loss of the right to practise their culture. Before 1770 aboriginal peoples had been living for more then 40,000 years on this continent. At least 16,000 generations of Aboriginals had lived and died on this land.

For my family, Australia Day is a day to reflect on how lucky we are to be citizens of this land of opportunity and to enjoy the glorious nature and environment we live amongst. We usually head to the beach, take part in local community events and gatherings and finish the day watching fireworks. In my opinion, the strength of our Australian community lies directly with the diversity of our people and their many cultures adding to what is an already rich tapestry of multiculturalism amongst this wonderful country. A perfect example of this is shown in the clip below. Many of you will have seen this already but I think it is fitting for today's post.





What ever your doing on Australia Day I hope it is fun, relaxing and extremely social but please don't forget to give a thought to the original inhabitants of this beautiful land we call home.

Happy Australia Day!



Photos taken by Heather, Film clip via YouTube and facts and Figures sourced from Australia Day and creative spirits

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