Today we celebrate our Australia Day, with a date that upsets many of our first citizens. Which doesn’t sit well with me. (Why on earth would we want to do that??) But quite apart from that , it really annoys me for quite a different reason.The original date — 26th January 1788– has nothing to do with Western Australia. There was no W.A. then. (In fact there was more of a chance we’d be settled by France not Britain at that time.)
There was a bunch of Brits over on the eastern seaboard, flying a British flag, being governed by a British Governor serving British interests, and longing to retire back to Britain.So here we are celebrating a date that marks the beginnings of a British invasion of someone else’s land a couple of thousand miles from where I now live, by a bunch of people who mostly didn’t want to be there. We certainly weren’t a country. We weren’t even called Australia back then!! January 26th.
How inappropriate can you get?
Well, even more. That date was later the date of a massacre of an indigenous group by settlers.So I don’t fly a flag, especially not one with a Union Jack in the corner.
I wonder what my grandfather’s dad would think of it all. He was transported to Van Dieman’s Land for stealing a brass tap…