Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Australia Day’

January 26 is when Australia celebrates itself as a nation.

January 26 1788, when ships of the ‘first fleet’ landed on a beach in Sydney Cove and founded a penal colony – and because of that, people up to thousands of kilometres away from that place today will celebrate it.

I have in a previous posting suggested that January 26 is not the right date to celebrate the nation of Australia.There are numerous arguments surrounding this date; the foremost being the invasion concept, whereby white people invaded Australia, dispossessing the inhabitants of access to lands they had used for millennia. Whether or not you subscribe to that concept, there is validity in it, if only at an historical level. It is true that over the first century of European settlement, white people overcame and dominated where once indigenous culture held sway, and today this is a western nation with history both good and bad – this is not just opinion, it is historic fact…

Be that as it may… I believe that January 26 is the wrong date even if you do not have an indigenous heritage.

Celebrating the landing of the First fleet as the beginning of Australia must be an insult to all those who call Australia HOME!

Celebrating the landing of ships from elsewhere suggests that we (Australians) are a relocated people, that HOME is really elsewhere.I may have a European heritage, and it is nice to reflect on and learn from that, but I am insulted at the mere suggestion that home (or the old country) is elsewhere. Others will have a European, Asian, African, indigenous (or some other) heritage, and their heritage will mean to them what it will mean to them; but if they are Australian and call Australia their home, how can January 26 and what its origins are, be a fitting date to celebrate the nation as a whole?

March 3 is a more fitting date to celebrate the nation of Australia, for it was on March 3 1986 that the government abolished the right to appeal to the Privy Council in London, thereby removing the ability of the British Government to make laws for Australia. In essence, making Australia a fully sovereign, independent and federal nation.This may appear to some a somewhat technical or officious act. How or why can people celebrate a holiday based on a piece of paper? The most well known secular holiday in the world is based on a piece of paper – the 4th of July.

The United States of America celebrates the signing of their declaration of independence from Great Britain on the fourth of July 1776 (twelve years before the First fleet). Thirteen colonies became states under a national legislature (Congress). To establish this new country’s rights they were then already at war with Great Britain.

The US celebrates their country on the date they became a country. We (on the other had) celebrate this county on the date we became a prison.

Another thing that we can celebrate about Australia, especially on a different date, is the fact that

  • Australia became federated in peace (1 January 1901) ,
  • Australia was granted political autonomy in peace, though in the middle of WW2 (9 October 1942)
  • Australia was granted full and legal autonomy in peace (3 March 1986)

Australia became a fully federated, independent, sovereign, and federal nation in peace – when so many other nations came to be in war.

Celebrate Australia!

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Today is the 26th of January, the day where Australians celebrate what it may mean to them to be Australian.

  • To celebrate an ‘independent’ nation – by waving a flag with the symbol of a foreign power in a prominent place on that flag.
  • To celebrate by singing an anthem – that not many know all (or many) of the words to, and if they knew the full lyrics to the song it came from, it would probably be thrown out in a minute.
  • To celebrate the nation on a day that the indigenous people of the country see as a day of invasion… and a day that happened 198 years before Australia became an ‘independent’ nation.

First – The Flag
I am grateful and proud to be an Australian. I was lucky to have been born into a country of broad freedoms, opportunities, compassion, support, and happiness.

Australia likes to think of itself as a forward looking country, but the Australian flag – the country’s representative symbol, appears to be backward looking. In that, the upper left section of the flag contains the flag of another country – as if the apparently independent country of Australia was a dependent, or dominion of Great Britain.
While Australia was a dominion of England, and the constituent colonies that came together to form the Australian nation, were, like Australia was itself at the time dependencies of England – this is no longer the case in the 21st century.

Australia, a forward looking country, should not have a backward looking flag.

In My Opinion!

Change the flag…

I feel the flag as it is is almost as it might be…
– LoseĀ  the Union Jack, Australia is no longer a dependent or dominion of the UK.
– The star of federation will have an edge of red (not to mimic New Zealand, but) to represent blood spilt in the defense of this country – however one may define defence (in war or during colonisation).
– There being no other country’s flag or other symbol on the flag’s canton (upper left section), the star of federation (representing one united continent) is raised slightly to the central left section of the flag.
– No other changes are necessary. This flag will represent one united country under the Southern Cross – beneath the big sky of infinity – beholding to none.

Second – the Song
When people in Australia sing the national anthem they struggle through the first verse, and not even bothering with the second… Some don’t even know there is a second verse to the national anthem… There is one phase in the first verse everyone knows, and is sometimes a point of mirth – Our home is girt by sea… girt by sea…

Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea:
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history’s page let every stage
Advance Australia fair,
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross,
We’ll toil with hearts and hands,
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands,
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share,
With courage let us all combine
To advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia fair.

But what of the original version of the song this anthem comes from?
Peter Dodds McCormick composed a partiotoc song in 1879.
My question is, is this song more patriotic to Australia or England?

The original lyrics of Advance Australia fair – as composed by Peter Dodds McCormick in 1879.
(http://lachlan.bluehaze.com.au/aaf/aafa.html)

Australian sons, let us rejoice.
For we are young and free.
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea.
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history’s page let every stage
Advance Australia Fair
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
To trace wide oceans o’er.
True British courage bore him on.
Til he landed on our shore
Then here he raised Old England’s flag.
The standard of the brave.
With all her faults we love her still.
Britannia rules the wave
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

When other nations of the globe.
Behold us from afar,
We’ll rise to high renown
And shine like our glorious southern star
From English soil and Fatherland
Scotia and Erin fair
Let all combine with heart and hand
To Advance Australia fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

Should foreign foe e’er sight our coast.
Or dare a foot to land.
We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore
To guard our native strand.
Britannia then shall surely know,
Though oceans roll between
Her sons in fair Australia’s land
Still keep their courage green.
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia Fair.

England’s flag is the standard of the brave – Britannia rules the wave
but advance Australia fair anyway?
From English soil and Fatherland – Scotia and Erin fair
advance Australia fair?

The ‘Beneath our radiant Southern Cross’ verse was not included into the song until early in the 20th century… it was the third verse of the song – and the song was performed at the inauguration of the commonwealth and at the founding of the capital in Canberra.

This song has served its purpose and it is time to put it to rest. Thank you Peter Dodds McCormick for your song, but your song was of your time… not ours.

In My Opinion!

Change the song

The Australian national anthem should not only to be reflective of a country and its spirit – it ought be inspiring and bring a lump to one’s throat….
That song is I Am Australian composed by Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton

I came from the dream time, from the dusty red soil plains,
I am the ancient heart – the keeper of the flame,
I stood upon the rocky shore, I watched the tall ships come,
For forty thousand years I’d been the first Australian.

I came upon the prison ship bound down by iron chains
I cleared the land, endured the lash and waited for the rains.
I’m a settler, I’m a farmer’s wife on a dry and barren run
A convict then a free man, I became Australian.

I’m the daughter of a digger who sought the mother lode
The girl became a woman on the long and dusty road
I’m a child of the depression, I saw the good times come
I’m a bushy, I’m a battler, I am Australian.

We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come,
we share a dream,
And sing with one voice,
I am, you are, we are Australian.

I’m a teller of stories, I’m a singer of songs
I am Albert Namatjira, and I paint the ghostly gums
I am Clancy on his horse, I’m Ned Kelly on the run
I’m the one who waltzed Matilda, I am Australian.

I’m the hot wind from the desert, I’m the black soil of the plains
I’m the mountains and the valleys, I’m the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock, I am the sky, the rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land, I am Australian.

We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come,
we share a dream,
And sing with one voice,
I am, you are, we are Australian.

Finally – The Day
Why is January 26 Australia day?

On 26 January 1788, ships of the First Fleet landed and founded the penal colony of New South Wales. There was not to be an entity known as Australia for another 112 years
Aboriginal people see January 26 as a day of mourning, as the day of invasion.

So if not January 26, then are there any other dates… and why.

July 9
Royal ascent givenĀ  to the Australian Constitution on 9 July 1900.
(who wants a mid winter holiday?)

January 1
Commonwealth of Australia comes into being when the states are federated on 1 January 1901
(what will happen to new year’s day?)

April 25
ANZAC Day – landings at ANZAC Cove, Turkey 25 April 1915
(a national day based on war? and a defeat to boot)

October 9
Australia ratified the Statute of Westminster on 9 October 1942, whose main effect was to remove the ability of the British Parliament to legislate for Australia.
(we were still a dominion)

March 3
The Australia Act becomes law on 3 March 1986. Through this act Australia had the status of a Sovereign, Independent and Federal Nation. The act effectively removed the ability of the British Government to make laws for Australia by abolishing the right of appeal to the Privy Council.
(Independednce under law and in fact)

February 13
The date where the Prime Minister issued an apology to the aborigines for past ill treatment and the stolen generation.
(a national landmark for sure, but not a celebratory national day)

In My Opinion!

Change the day

March 3 could be a better choice for a day to celebrate our nation. A day where all Australians can celebrate being in a sovereign, independent and federal nation – not at the cost of any group or anyone.

January 26 can be celebrated by those in New South Wales, for that day commemorates the founding of NSW –

I want to celebrate Australia – ALL OF AUSTRALIA, not the beginning of white Australia in 1788, but all of Australia through all of its time and all of its people, places, flora, fauna,

I’m the hot wind from the desert,
I’m the black soil of the plains
I’m the mountains and the valleys,
I’m the drought and flooding rains
I am the rock,
I am the sky,
the rivers when they run
The spirit of this great land,
I am Australian.

We are one but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come,
we share a dream,
And sing with one voice,
I am, you are, we are Australian.

Read Full Post »