By Maureen McManamny
With the Australia Day debate coming up again – our new caring Christian PM calls those opposed to ‘celebrating this day (out of respect for what it means to the First Nations People) – as “Indulgent Self Loathing which doesn’t make Oz stronger, being honest about our past does.” So let’s be honest about our colonial, convict past then.
The Brits invaded a country populated by one of the world’s oldest races that were doing just fine and managed to exist for over 40,000 yrs before the Brits arrived, slaughtered and enslaved them – the rightful owners of this land… that is being honest.
ScoMo went on to say the modern Australian nation began on January 26, 1788. So it was modern in 1788? No – it was a penal colony – that is not modern – that was a barbaric and horrid solution by the Brits and means we were basically a great big jail.
A TOUCH OF OUR HISTORY
Captain Cook discovered Australia… forget the Dutch and others ‘found’ it before Cook and forget the fact that is wasn’t lost – it was occupied for 40,000 or so years.
There seems a few variations of the true dates. Some say the First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay on 24 January 1788. Others say the fleet arrived at Botany Bay between 18th and 20th January 1788.
January 26, 1788 was the date on which Captain Arthur Phillip ‘took formal possession’ of the colony of New South Wales and raised the British flag for the first time in Sydney Cove. Formal possession being a euphemism for invading a populated country – something the Brits were really good at and our historians like to repeat so it sounds grand, heroic and fair.
THE TRUE AUSTRALIA DAY
Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901 when the British Parliament passed legislation allowing the six Australian colonies to govern in their own right as part of the Commonwealth of Australia.
So we could move the day and celebrate this quasi separation from the Brits (even though we are still in the Commonwealth) But as many Aussies are hung-over on Jan 1st. this would never be accepted by Govt… too soon to get pissed again, paint a few Aussie flags on our faces and chuck up in public parks – in true Australia day style.
OR ANOTHER TRUE AUSTRALIA DAY
In 1804, the British navigator Matthew Flinders proposed the names Terra Australis (southern land) or Australia for the whole continent, reserving “New Holland” for the western part of the continent. He continued to use “Australia” in his correspondence, while attempting to gather support for the term.
So we could celebrate when we stopped being New Holland and became Australia – the day we were named. Maybe the day of our naming in 1804 would be the best day to celebrate ‘Australia’ Day.
Either of these days means we are not celebrating the day the Brits’ invaded – which First Nations people are rightly upset and pissed off about.
HERE’S ANOTHER BETTER IDEA TO CELEBRATE
Let’s celebrate this – that First Nations people are the world’s longest continuous culture and people. Recent dating of the earliest known archaeological sites on the Australian continent – using thermo-luminescence and other modern dating techniques – have pushed back the date for Aboriginal presence in Australia to at least 40,000 years. Some of the evidence points to dates over 60,000 years old.
But this would go against every white, western, christian principle the LNP stand for. And we have to consider our new ‘Envoy’ who’s been appointed to shape the future of this longest continuous culture. Tony said – no one was here before Cook arrived- so let’s just white wash history shall we guys? He wants to ban the schools from teaching their language and have all the Aboriginal kids ‘think in English’ … good one Tones.
AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE GET ANGRY AND UPSET AT THE TREATMENT THEY’VE BEEN SUBJECTED TO SINCE ‘AUSTRALIA DAY’.
But then we must remember what our leader says – First Nations and those who are sympathetic to their feelings are being “Indulgent & Self Loathing which doesn’t make Oz stronger, being honest about our past does.”
About Australian Aboriginal Culture – the world’s longest continuous …
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Perhaps this will help Scomo finally understand why Australia Day must be moved from January 26th?
FRWNJ’s do not do reason or acknowledge facts, not in their DNA.
Best comment on “Which date would better than 26 January for Australia Day ? an elderly Aboriginal woman replied “14th February”. Oh, why is that? “That’s the date they ate Cook”!
Most gobsmacking was Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Sport “It must be 26th January because that’s the day CaptainCook stepped onto Australian soil.”.
“Let’s celebrate this – that First Nations people are the world’s longest continuous culture and people. Recent dating of the earliest known archaeological sites on the Australian continent ….. have pushed back the date for Aboriginal presence in Australia to at least 40,000 years. Some of the evidence points to dates over 60,000 years old.
Oh dear, did somebody forget to tell the Poms about how you legally claim title to land owned by somebody else that you covet for your own? It appears that the High Court of Australia recognises the fallibility of British title and is maintaining legal myths to preserve the British position.
The late Paul Coe was onto something with his AHC case, but acting alone in an unsympathetic environment he was beaten.
Perhaps it is not too late for a treaty between the original British invaders and the correct legal proprietors of the Australia land mass.
@Jaquix: Bridget McKenzie supported Adultery when Barnyard Joke exposed himself by public confession. Is she the leading advocate for “Women supporting Adultery support National$”?
January 26th is not inclusive but the supporters of Australia Day as being nearly the landing of the first fleet don’t care about those excluded.
‘Wam I would rather believe Jacinta Price because she is an aboriginal(sic) than a white man like you.”
It is a sad fact that pointing outthat I am using the words of others better than me and that Jacinta is the clp candidate for Lingiari invokes a ‘so??’
Even Waterloo Creek and the ‘Mourning Day” protests on the 100 year anniversary(180 years this year) is dismissed as history(que?). ‘Wam, why do you hate white people?”
Any attempt to get ‘thought’ into a belief is painful. Any attempt at seeking fairness is dismissed a ‘lefty’ propaganda. Any attempt at facts like 1994 is dismissed as irrelevant.
I am re-invigorated by the info of jan 26th as being CCC(captain cook cooked) Day, Thanks, Jaquix
Australia Day: Yawn, just another public holiday.
January 26 is the anniversary of the 1788 landing by the British government to establish a penal colony in a place Captain James Cook had called New South Wales after a visit in 1770.
January 26, 1788 was also considered to be invasion day by the local indigenous people, who had lived in the area for at least 40,000 years, as they had no say whatsoever about the establishment of the penal colony by the British government.
Given that, there has been talk for some time now about changing the date of what has been called Australia Day & here are some important dates in the history of the country that might be considered as possible alternative dates for a true Australia Day.
July 9 – The Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act became law. (1900)
January 1 – The Beginning of Australia as the Commonwealth of Australia. (1901)
May 27 – Successful referendum re the Constitution on Aboriginal Rights. (1967)
August 10 – Alterations to the Constitution on Aboriginal Rights became law. (1967)
December 4 – Australia Act passed by the Australian Government. (1985)
February 17 – Australia Act passed by the British Government. (1986)
March 3 – Commencement of the Australia Act. (1986)
1st of September – Australian National Wattle Day is a celebration that carries no baggage and is symbolic to all Australian people.
We seem to have these circular discussions on a regular basis and ultimately agree to say ‘Nah, too hard.’ Putting aside the date for a minute, an issue that is as irrelevant as ‘what should be our national anthem’ or ‘what should be our national flag’, the first question has got to be ‘what does the day mean?’
‘Australia’ is a recent construct, having commenced in the 1700’s, when it edged out ‘New Holland’ as a label. It was created as a formal concept with the consent of the British Parliament, and largely in their image, in 1901. It is ironic that our Constitution and the contretemps of the current crop of imbeciles is a problem that only manifested in 1949. The Constitution provides that;
“44. Any person who –
Is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power: or”
Prior to 1948/49, there was no such thing as an Australian, a sentiment established in 1906 and never challenged!
“The idea that there was such a thing as an Australian nationality as distinct from a British one was considered by the High Court of Australia in 1906 to be a “novel idea” to which it was “not disposed to give any countenance”.”
Ironically, the 26th January has another significance. It was the day Australian nationality came into existence.
“The Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948, which came into force on 26 January 1949, gave effect to that arrangement and created the concept of Australian nationality while continuing to be British subjects. However, the status of other (non-Australian) British subjects in Australia differed from the status of those who were not British subjects. Aborigines became Australian citizens under the 1948 Act in the same way as other Australians (though Aborigines were not counted in the Australian population until after a 1967 referendum).”
We can discuss or argue as much as we like which date would be best for us to drape ourselves in the national flag, drink copious amounts of alcohol and sing whatever national anthem exists in increasingly discordant, drunken disharmony, but you will never escape the fact that this is the settlers celebration of an identity that seems to have a legal definition, with the perennial ‘what does it mean to be Australian’ still discussed in ‘white Australia’ as an embodiment of the ANZAC spirit or some such nonsense. We pose the question through European eyes, then dismiss altogether the complaints of our First People with indignant disdain.
Banok Rind recently wrote;
“Our people’s way of honouring our past, empowering our present and growing our future is done three ways: with wisdom, with reason and with purpose. Our wisdom, reason and purpose reflect on who we are as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”
Expecting the current shower of wasters to understand the subtleties of a culture that is continuing to evolve, even though the evolution has been all but destroyed over the past few centuries, is an exercise in meaningless patronising condescension. Claire Coleman also recently wrote;
“We don’t want a celebration of how we “contributed” to Australia, which is what Morrison called for, we want white people to stop celebrating the day they invaded us. If you think about it, we really did contribute to the wealth of the country because it was land stolen from First Nations people upon which the entire wealth of Australia was and is built.
He also said we didn’t “need to tear down one group to hear from another.” Sadly this has defined and characterised Australia for the last 230 years. The building of a nation has occurred by the invasion, destruction and suffering of another. Wealthy white people are wealthy because all the land their wealth is built on was stolen from First Nations people.”
“People forget we already have a theoretical “Indigenous Day” – that was the meaning of Naidoc, National Aboriginal and Islander Day Organising Committee. Yes, Naidoc week is named after the committee pulled together to establish an Aboriginal and Islander day we still don’t have.
This is yet another salvo from a prime minister who is either the most ignorant person to have ever led this country or genuinely thinks cruelty and disdain towards First Nations people will gain him enough votes to stay in power. This latest dig follows on from his appointment of Tony Abbot, possibly the worst person for the job imaginable, as special envoy on Indigenous affairs. If he had the slightest clue on Indigenous issues, Morrison would have asked us who we wanted for the job.”
We want to talk about how our First People fit in European Australia and ignore that the two subjects are intrinsically mutually exclusive. We are so shallow and the conversation so vacuous that to simply acknowledge that our history is built on the violent extermination of our First People is a suggestion that it is simply too depressing to countenance.
Everything about Australia is viewed through European eyes. Until that is the stated starting point of our conversation, we are destined to go around in circles. As but one of many examples, take the weather. Our European view is that there are four seasons with defined start and finish dates. That these dates have no relevance to the actual seasons is an irrelevance that we don’t even consider.
Our First People, with the benefit of a society, a culture, a civilisation, that has evolved in keeping with its environment over tens of thousands of years, accept that there are more than four seasons and that the start and finish is dependent on the environment, not on dates. The maturity of the fruit, the prevalence of wind and rain, the temperature. All are indicators of the seasons, a fixed date is not. It is only recently that our scientific institutions, such as the BoM and CSIRO, started accessing tens of thousands of years of experience to define Australian seasons rather than European.
“The knowledge runs through women. The women have most things to do with plants so the seasons are most important to them anyway, in terms of food and medicines.”
This knowledge is a gift from one person to another, and can’t be thrown away without great care.”
“Indigenous people also have a longer-term understanding of weather patterns. Bodkin’s clan has two other cycles that run considerably longer than the yearly cycle, the Mudong, or life cycle which covers about 11 or 12 years, and the Garuwanga, or Dreaming, which is a cycle of about 12,000 to 20,000 years.
In the last few years there have been several signs of a long-term weather pattern, she said. “Three years running we had three signs that really worried me. One was we had the Aurora Australis in the skies over Sydney. The next sign was the three sisters dancing in a line.” (The sisters she refers to are three planets.)
“Then the next thing was the massive numbers of cicadas,” described Bodkin. “Now those three things coming up together within a year or two of each other were sort of quite alarming and indicated a very, very bad drought.”
The “Indigenous Weather Knowledge site” is a fascination, not so much in terms of its potential or promise, but in the sense that we have only recently established it.
The recent ‘conversations’ about a voice for our First People, and successive PM’s denial of it, underscores the reality. We, as the perpetrators, enablers and beneficiaries of the initial transgressions have absolutely no interest in conducting a conversation. We couldn’t give a tinkers curse beyond discussing tokenistic acknowledgement that our First People were here first. There is something wrong when you ask the perpetrators how they might modify their behaviour rather than asking the victims for their thoughts.
Australia day will only ever have significance when it is Australians having a real conversation in their own sunshine, not under the cloud of a European (or American) past. We cannot erase the last few centuries any more than we can ignore them. But let’s stop pretending that, in the current climate, we give a damn. It is like asking men what they will do about women’s rights. It’s like asking the ‘government’ about what they’ll do about government interference in the national broadcaster. It’s like asking employers what they’ll do about worker’s rights. It’s like asking climate change deniers what they’ll do about climate change. It’s like asking religious institutions about how they’ll fix the abuses of their institutions. Our tendency to ask the perpetrators of transgressions about how they’ll fix the transgressions is a well established path, with well established non results. Can we at least stop pretending that we seriously give a damn?
“AND PEOPLE WONDER WHY FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE GET ANGRY AND UPSET AT THE TREATMENT THEY’VE BEEN SUBJECTED TO SINCE ‘AUSTRALIA DAY’.”
Indeed. Thank you Ms McManamny and commenters.
Which date do the majority of First Nation people prefer?
On 16 August 1975, Prime Minister Gough Whitlam came to Daguragu. As he poured a handful of Daguragu soil into Vincent Lingiari’s hand, he said:
“Vincent Lingiari, I solemnly hand to you these deeds as proof in Australian law that these lands belong to the Gurindji people, and I put into your hands part of the earth as a sign that this land will be the possession of you and your children forever.”
That was a momentous day.
Well said Kyran.