Australia Day (January 26th) is one of the biggest holidays in Australia, their nation day. It has been widely observed since 1888, though it was not widely called Australia Day till 1935.
Also known as: Straya Day, Foundation Day, Anniversary Day, Invasion Day, Survival Day.
Like the Fourth of July in the US, it takes place in the summer and features fireworks, picnics, barbecues, flag waving, speeches, parades, pride in one’s country, going to the beach or the park, being with family and friends, etc.
But unlike the Fourth of July, it does not mark independence from British rule (January 1st 1901) but the beginning of British rule!
On January 26th 1788, the First Fleet, made up of 11 British ships carrying convicts, arrived in what is now Sydney harbour. Captain Arthur Phillip planted the British flag. Thus began White Australia.
Grand Theft Australia: In addition to genocide and land theft, there was the Stolen Generation: from 1909 to 1969 the so-called Aborigines’ Protection Board took Aboriginal children away from their parents. Aboriginal Australians were not citizens till 1967.
- die 10 years sooner on average than non-Aboriginals,
- are 15 times more likely to be in prison
- and 2 times more likely to be out of work
The corresponding numbers for US Blacks are 4, 6 and 2.
So, in addition to the fireworks, there are protests and, on Twitter, #ChangeTheDate.
Those who want to change the date are told stuff like:
“It’s time to move on.”
“I didn’t do it, it was previous generations.”
In 2007 the Labor Party promised to change the date as part of the Roadmap For Reconciliation.
In 2009, once in power, Labor broke its promise. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said:
“To our Indigenous leaders, and those who call for a change to our national day, let me say a simple, respectful, but straightforward no.”
Enter Google Doodle: On holidays in Australia, like in other countries, Google shows a Google Doodle, a special logo on its home page. In the past on Australia Day, it showed kangaroos, fireworks, sand castles, etc.
For 2016, Google showed “Stolen Dreamtime” by 16-year-old Ineka Voigt. It was the winning entry of its doodle contest among Australian schoolchildren. The theme was “If I could travel back in time I would …”. They received 26,000 entries.
Voigt said if she could go back in time she would have “reunited mother and child.” How she describes her picture:
“A weeping mother sits in an ochre desert, dreaming of her children and a life that never was … all that remains is red sand, tears and the whispers of her stolen dreamtime.”
“Ineka’s tremendous art work deserved pride of place on the Google homepage”.
Sam Watson, an Indigenous activist:
“The fact that we have an Aboriginal woman there with her breasts exposed is unacceptable, so they’re using Aboriginal people as very plastic caricatures, showing enormous disrespect to our people and to our culture.”
Google also used tribal markings for commercial purposes without permission.
Voigt is White. She says her father grew up among Aboriginals, that she has “the culture within me.”
– Abagond, 2016.
- Black Pete
- representation matters
- Seeing Melbourne, Day 2 – our tour guide was part of the Stolen Generation
- Tasmanian genocide
- Australian Aboriginals according to National Geographic
- Violence against Indian students in Australia
- Iggy Azalea
- Teflon History