It’s almost that time of year again, Jan 26. Most Australians celebrate this day as the day Captain Arthur Phillip took formal possession of the colony of New South Wales and raised the British flag for the first time in Sydney Cove in 1788.
However Aboriginals, Torres Strait Islanders and a growing number of Australians view this day as ‘Invasion Day’, 'Day of Mourning’, ‘Survival Day’ or, more recently ‘Aboriginal Sovereignty Day’. They consider it a day of mourning, a day when the Brittish first arrived and started to slaughter and the dispossession of Aborigines. The Aboriginals were no match for the firepower that the Brittish had.
For many decades the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been marching in protest on this day on parliament houses, across bridges and a tent embassy in Canberra. More and more people are starting to come to terms with how Aboriginal people feel about this and a growing movement to change the date of Australia day to one that is more inclusive which all cultures can enjoy together without the baggage that comes with the 26th Jan.
There have been many dates thrown around but I find of it were to happen then it should be on another significant day. Here are a few of the dates that I have the most support for.
03/03/1986 It’s not a date we invaded. Not one of the countless dates we attempted to say sorry for the invasion, but the date we said to the country that did the invasion: “you have no say over us any longer!” It was the day that Brittish courts no longer had authority to override Australian courts. I think it’s a date that could get some support, but it’s sadly all but unknown.
27/05/1967 - The day that 90% of the population voted in a referendum to recognize indigenous Australians in the constitution [Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) 1967]. An alternative day to this could be 10/08/1967 when the referendum results became law.
A possible future date is if we gain our complete independence from England, a day that can be celebrated by everyone.
Tl;dr Australia day is coming up and the usual debate about whether Australia day should be changed. I’m interested to see what you guys think and also any other dates that could be put in the ring as a possible alternative day with greater meaning to everyone who lives in this country.