January 26 – A date to diarise, a date to celebrate, a date to remember.
It’s Australia Day and it is a great time to show off the Aussie colours (green and gold) and to hoist the Australian flag.
Sizzling barbecues are common around the nation as we celebrate the public holiday (since 1994, it has been one).
It is one of those events we have to do something for, we cannot just not do anything.
Hence, what do we actually do?
We throw a barbeque, wear green and gold, watch the cricket, have a beer and chant “Aussie Aussie Aussie (Oi Oi Oi)”.
But remember what we are celebrating.
Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney Cove in 1788 to this vast land on January 26.
He was commandeering the first fleet of eleven convict ships and became the first Governor of New South Wales.
But it was soon to be a dark mark in Australian history.
The colonisers were not the first to arrive on the dry, isolated island, for there were already inhabitants believed to have been there for more than 40, 000 years.
They were Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who lived in their various communities.
The European settlers wanted to develop this new country their way and interfered with the Indigenous communities, causing pain, separation and death.
It was to be known as the Stolen Generations.
But it was not exactly on January 26 this happened; January 26 marks the day the Europeans arrived and that is all.
They made Australia a wonderful country, developing its states and territories.
It just came at a cost, but there is a lighter side to our story, to what we have produced.
So, January 26 is well on its way and we shall think, remember and celebrate what we are.
We are a widely multi-cultural country with respect for others.
We are proud of our talents – Matthew Flinders, Sir Douglas Mawson, Pat Dodson, David Malouf, Barry Humphries, Cathy Freeman, Ita Buttrose and naturally, Kylie.
Absorb ourselves in our culture on this special day, as long as it has Australian remembrance to you, do it.
So let us celebrate Australia Day with what we believe is importantly Australian to us, and take a moment to remember how far we have come since 1788, this January 26.