Australia Day - A Conflict with Aboriginal Australia?
Tuesday 26th January is Australia Day. What is Australia Day? Why are there some people that choose to protest on this day? What impact does it have for Aboriginal Australia? Find out more and have your say. Should Australia Day be moved? If you are lucky enough to be in Australia, how should you celebrate?
This Tuesday (26th January) most of Australia will be adorning themselves and their homes with the Australian flag. You can also expect to see traditional Aussie Barbies, entertainment and celebrations in all corners of the country.
Australia Day is a public holiday across every state of Australia and marks the end of the long summer holiday. It’s the last day of parties and celebrations before life returns to the normalities of work and school. It is the official National day of Australia.
Two official items mark the day itself. The first is the “Order of Australia” which is where the Queen of England (and Australia) recognises certain chivalry acts from Australian citizens, both from the military and normal walks of life. The Australian States also nominate those who have excelled in their field for the Australian of the Year Award.
Why do the Australian’s celebrate Australia Day?
Australia Day commemorates the landing of the first fleet of British ships in 1788 at Sydney Cove and the hoisting of the British flag. This was when British sovereignty of Australia began. It is no wonder then that many groups of Australia, particularly the indigenous groups, dislike Australia day and choose to protest on the day. For them, it marks the start of the destruction of their culture and aboriginal Australia.
Before the European settlement, it is estimated that the indigenous population of Australia was around 315,000.
With the European settlers came old world diseases that the aborigines could not survive. This wiped out many of their population. On top of that, laws gave them no claim to the land and as the European settlers grew, the aborigines were pushed out.
Should Australia Day be moved?
The Australian’s are now much more sympathetic toward the Aboriginals and appreciate that they are an important part of Australian history and culture. It therefore does seem inappropriate to celebrate the National Day of Australia on this day.
So should the date of Australia Day be changed? The Australian’s are a hugely patriotic nation and should be able to celebrate all that is wonderful about being Australian – Enjoying the sunshine, beaches and surf, eating wonderful seafood and meats cooked to perfection on the Barbie and of course they know how to party with music and dancing. So lets move the date so that the Australian’s can celebrate without feeling guilty about the culture and lives of Aboriginal Australia.
Where to Celebrate Australia Day?
In most towns you will find some sort of entertainment for Australia Day. The capital cities are however the best places. Sydney in particular puts on some fantastic entertainment including ferry races on the harbour, fireworks at Darling Harbour as well as kids shows and more entertainment in and around The Rocks and Hyde Park. Expect it to be busy but worth the effort.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Johanna Lloyd has nearly 5 years of experience in travelling Australia and has recently had a baby. Her website,http://www.realaustraliatravel.com offers practical information for planning your trip to Australia as well as what to do and where to go including the hidden gems that the locals don't want you to know about. Click here for more information on Aboriginal Australia