Happy Independence Day. Belated Good Wishes to my US Friends. Down Under we celebrate our big day on January 26th – and we call it “Australia Day”.
In Australia, American Independence Day hardly rates a mention, except within those folk who are US citizens and family. Perhaps I did miss reference to it in the media this year.
Our Australia Day is celebrated with a range of events including such things as Citizenship Ceremonies for those who become Australians on this day, various community parties and events, but many folk just enjoy being with family on this day. Home parties – BBQ’s, cricket, beach parties, and anything we can think of.
Some rather crazy events do happen too – thong throwing, toad races, cockroach racing. And lots of drinking of beer (and wine!)
Read about the Australian Flag here.
But it is a day that is not celebrated by all Australians. The indigenous Australians call it Invasion Day,
In our history January 26th 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip took possession of New South Wales, and raised the British flag for the first time on this land.
Subsequently the British took over Australia, and over the next few years, “disposed of” the native people to a point that their population was decimated. The hatred of the white people by the aboriginal people is palpable some time all these years later.
Our Australian aboriginals, Australia’s First Peoples had a wonderful history in Australia, up until that time, which many of us are only learning about now.
I do not blame them for not celebrating Australia Day, and I am sad that they are still angry at what happened. My family came to Australia in 1836, and as far as I can determine were not responsible for any carnage of the native people – they were not military, they were farmers and business people, and the family historians do not make reference to anything that would suggest that they played any personal part in the destruction of these people.
However, I do acknowledge, as many “white” Australians do, that it was a horrific time in our history. I understand why our Indigenous peoples do not enjoy the celebrations of Australia Day.
So, I reflect on Australia Day and the US Independence Day on July 4th. Happy Independence Day!!