Australia Day

Posted on January 26th, 2008 by Cam.
Categories: Let's talk.

By January 20, 1788, Captain Phillip had anchored at Botony Bay where Captain Cook had recommended settlement. Their hopes were dashed as they failed to find the beauty or industrial potential of the location, so they sailed north to find ‘the finest harbour in the world’, naming a part of it Sydney Cove.

‘On the 26th of January the convict transports moved into their new home as a handful of Aborigines on the shore set up a horrid howl and indicated by angry gestures with sticks and stones that the white man was not wanted. That night, the British flag was unfurled at Sydney Cove, shots were fired, and toasts were drunk’ (p.17).

‘Within a few weeks convicts has stolen food so shamelessly that Phillip decided to have them flogged as a warning to both European and Aborigine of his determination to defend property. When floggings failed to deter, Phillip agreed to use the last sanction of the law and launched one of the thieves into eternity. The white man had come to Australia’ (p.18).

By the 26th of January, 1808, the founding of the colony was traditionally celebrated by the troops in drunken carousals (p.36).

(Mannng Clark, 2006, Revised 4th Edition. A short history of Australia. Penguin: Australia)

Happy Australia Day everyone. A sensational day where we can celebrate our heritage and conveniently forget some details that can make us uncomfortable. Not to take away from the great things that we can celebrate, but I believe there is more to remember than the cooking of lamb on a barbeque or the watching fireworks will represent.

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