Saturday, 24 January 2015

Ostraya Day

I suppose every country has their own national day of celebration. January 26th happens to be the day set aside for the Australia Day public holiday. On that day in 1788, an English man by the name of Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney with a bunch of his mates and ship-loads of convicts, waved the Union Jack around a bit and claimed the pretty piece of dirt in the name of King George III.  

Two hundred and twenty seven years later, we are a nation of relative beauty and prosperity, filled with many interacting cultures. We are not without our problems – ignoring the morally-void politicians for a second, the tragic plight of our indigenous population is a significant one.

For somewhere in the ballpark of 40-60,000 years, the indigenous peoples of Australia (consisting of many hundreds of tribes and languages) had existed quite happily before the arrival of Arthur and his mates, so it shouldn't come as a huge surprise to non-indigenous Australians that not everyone feels like celebrating on the 26th of January. 
Australia was apparently deserted when the Brits arrived
But it does surprise some and they appear quite hurt and offended when it is referred to as “Invasion Day”. Surely the Aboriginals should stop living in the past and stop being such whiney killjoys. 
More First Dog here
The list of atrocities and injustices perpetrated against indigenous Australians over the last 227 years is a long and reasonably well documented one. 
Making up only 2-3% of the country’s population, it is estimated they account for around 25% of total prison populations. Life expectancy for indigenous men is roughly 11.5 years less than non-indigenous men. For women, it is around 10 years less than non-Indigenous females. Rates of obesity, diabetes, alcoholism, kidney disease, respiratory disorders and ear and eye problems are disgracefully high. In remote communities it is not uncommon for families to live in overcrowded houses with little to no access to the amenities and services that other Australians take for granted.

According to some, this is all their own fault. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should stop complaining, stop drinking grog, stop sitting around on their arses and get a job. Apparently if they live in the middle of nowhere, they should move to a bigger city and bugger the namby-pamby “connection to country” bullshit that is clearly an excuse to claim more money for doing nothing.  So their people were systematically slaughtered, bred-out and ignored for a couple of centuries…surely it is time to move on and stop playing the ‘poor bugger me’ card.

Unfortunately it's 'unethical' to breed out stupid people who think this way. It seems they feel someone is asking them to feel perpetually guilty, rather than simply acknowledging the situation and showing a little compassion and understanding.

I don’t know what the answer is to Indigenous disadvantage. I do know that the choice of January 26 for a day of celebration is a poor one.

This a wonderful, beautiful, fortunate country and I’m very glad to be part of it. We have a confusing flag, a ridiculous anthem, just as many dickheads and fuckwits as any other country, but overall we are good people and I’m proud to be Australian. We have lots to celebrate and be grateful for.

Surely doing it on a different day is not too much to ask? 

South Coast - Glenelg beach


  1. "happy" "invasion day" :-( yeah, it happened here too, and i also feel how it sucked ... EVERYWHERE it happened. we can't take it back to before, but at least we could stop rubbing their noses in it.

    1. G'day Tess,

      True. Watching the cricket and getting pissed (that's drunk, not angry) can be done on the 300+ other days of the year.

  2. The only time I've been in Australia is when the plane I was on touched down in Perth en route to New Zealand, I seem to recall it was very hot !

    As with any country it is the mix of people, it's history, which makes it 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly' but this is life. We have to embrace it, do our best for it and carry on. I just hope what we leave the next generation is sustainable.

    ....... Anyway, I'm raising a glass of Australian Chardonnay to you and yours.

    Cheers and .....

    All the best Jan