Monday, January 25, 2010

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day. January 26 1788 is when the first fleet arrived in Sydney Cove to establish a British colony in Australia. For the first century and a bit Australia was a collection of separate colonies and in 1901 the colonies came together to form a federation.

Like many countries some of the behavior of early settlers was with hindsight not all that it could have been. Equally it is easy to be judgmental with the benefit of modern life and the knowledge we have today that was not available to our ancestors of over two centuries ago.

It is interesting that during the last 25 years Australia Day is being recognized and celebrated more. It is now celebrated on January 26 rather than on the nearest Monday. The flag is much more visible and ,dare I say, respected than in years gone by.

Australia today has become very diverse and cosmopolitan. Migrants have come to Australia from right around the world seeking a new life in “the lucky country”. With the exception of the actions of a few individuals, Australia remains a tolerant place where diversity is respected and people from any background are welcomed.

Australia Day then is less about remembering the landing of a boat 222 years ago but more about celebrating a country which today enjoys a high standard of living, where opportunities exist for all who want to succeed, where the climate is pretty good all year round, where people do not take themselves too seriously and where a people live in peace and by any global scale, prosperity.

Equally,remembering and learning from history is important as is recognizing the efforts,struggles and sacrifices of those who came before.

I am certainly proud to be Australian. Happy Australia Day to all.

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