Aus­tralia Day

Dubbo Photo News - - Contents. - AS TOLD TO LISA MIN­NER

WITH Aus­tralia Day events be­ing cel­e­brated around the coun­try and grow­ing in pop­u­lar­ity each year, Dubbo Week­ender asked a cross-sec­tion of com­mu­nity mem­bers about what the day means to them and how they plan on cel­e­brat­ing… or not. SOME will em­brace it in all the usual fun-filled, flag-be­decked ways with bar­be­cues and com­mu­nity cel­e­bra­tions, hon­ours and awards cer­e­monies, while oth­ers will make the choice not to par­take in a day they say recog­nises only a small part of our na­tion’s broad his­tory.

Jan­uary 26 ac­knowl­edges the an­niver­sary of the First Fleet of Bri­tish ships ar­riv­ing in Syd­ney’s Port Jack­son in 1788 and the rais­ing of the Union Jack flag there by Gov­er­nor Arthur Phillip.

Al­though the nom­i­na­tion of the date as our na­tional day didn’t hap­pen un­til more than a cen­tury later, records of cel­e­bra­tions date back to the early 1800s.

It wasn’t un­til 1935 that all the states and ter­ri­to­ries col­lec­tively adopted the name Aus­tralia Day. In 1994 the day was marked as a pub­lic hol­i­day right across the coun­try.

The day means dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple – here are just some of those dif­fer­ing thoughts:

As­sis­tant Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ge­off Mckech­nie:

I WILL be at­tend­ing the Dubbo City Coun­cil Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions in Vic­to­ria Park in the morn­ing and then be en­joy­ing some time at home in the af­ter­noon with my fam­ily. We’ll prob­a­bly have a bar­bie and watch a bit of cricket, as you do! I think Aus­tralia Day is an im­por­tant time to re­mem­ber all the op­por­tu­ni­ties that lie be­fore us here in this coun­try. It’s a time to be thank­ful for liv­ing in such a great coun­try, be­cause not ev­ery­one is as lucky as we are, so it’s a good time to re­flect on those things.

Welling­ton Bud­dhist com­mu­nity’s Gen-la Thubten:

AUS­TRALIA is a for­tu­nate coun­try with free­dom to prac­tice the re­li­gions that we do. I feel for­tu­nate to be in a coun­try where we can vote for our politi­cians, even though I might not agree with the ma­jor­ity most of the time. I’m grate­ful that there are many dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties that come un­der the ban­ner and are liv­ing in this for­tu­nate place.

Welling­ton Busi­ness Cham­ber’s Viv Welling­ton:

I WILL be in Cameron Park in Welling­ton cook­ing snags for Ro­tary. For me, Aus­tralia Day is all about cel­e­brat­ing the lo­cal he­roes in my com­mu­nity. I re­ally en­joy see­ing the awards given out each year to the good peo­ple who give back in my town. I think it’s im­por­tant to give back to your com­mu­nity; my in­volve­ment with Ro­tary en­ables me to do that con­sis­tently. I’M not one to cel­e­brate oc­ca­sions and hol­i­days usu­ally, but Aus­tralia Day in Welling­ton is a day I look for­ward to.

Kristie Klaassens, Dubbo:

TO me Aus­tralia Day is a chance to get to­gether with friends and cel­e­brate all things Aus­tralian. I like to take a mo­ment to re­flect on our an­ces­tors and ev­ery­thing they went through to cre­ate mod­ern day Aus­tralia. With­out their ef­forts we would not be the strong, fun lov­ing, mul­ti­cul­tural coun­try I love. TO cel­e­brate this year we are hav­ing a BBQ in the park called Game of Thongs. It will be a re­lax­ing time with a few games like the thong toss thrown in for fun.

Headspace’s Ni­cholas Steepe:

I PLAN on do­ing what Aus­tralians do best – re­lax­ing. It’ll be re­fresh­ing to be back on Aus­tralian soil af­ter a mas­sive hol­i­day in the USA! And catch­ing up with friends and fam­ily!

Light­ning Ridge busi­ness­woman Rebel Black:

MY Aus­tralia Day plans are work. It’s a great day to get strat­egy done with no in­ter­rup­tions as ev­ery­one is on hol­i­days – not very pa­tri­otic, I know, but per­haps I am cel­e­brat­ing the in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties I have as an en­tre­pre­neur to cre­ate new streams of in­come and new jobs in ru­ral Aus­tralia. I live in grat­i­tude for be­ing Aus­tralian and en­joy the free­dom we have ev­ery day. We might dig in the gar­den and throw a chook in the home built wood fired oven, too.

Mem­ber for Parkes Mark Coul­ton:

WHEN I was younger, I don’t re­mem­ber Aus­tralia Day be­ing as cel­e­brated as it is now. As a young adult I don’t re­call at­tend­ing any­thing cel­e­brat­ing Aus­tralia Day and I’m not sure when it all started but ev­ery year more and more peo­ple turn up, which is ter­rific.

Last year I was in Dubbo and it was such a great morn­ing; there was the band play­ing and hun­dreds of peo­ple sit­ting in the shade. Aus­tralia Day doesn’t just cel­e­brate you be­ing an “ocker” – it’s be­come a day of cel­e­bra­tions no mat­ter where you come from. I get a thrill out of see­ing our newer Aus­tralians be­com­ing cit­i­zens, dressed in their suits and cel­e­brat­ing the day as well, and I love see­ing how se­ri­ously they take it. I go some­where dif­fer­ent ev­ery year and this year I’ll be at­tend­ing five dif­fer­ent cer­e­monies on Aus­tralia Day. I’m off to Con­dobolin, Lake Cargel­ligo, Tulli­bigeal, Fi­field and Tot­ten­ham.

Leila Mah­yari, mo­tel man­ager:

THE first year we were here in Dubbo we didn’t know any­thing about Aus­tralia Day, so I was read­ing up on it and think­ing how nice it is and how very proud ev­ery­one was of their coun­try. And they wanted to show ev­ery­one around the world that they love Aus­tralia with wav­ing their flags and hav­ing fun to­gether.

I work at a mo­tel, so I will be cel­e­brat­ing it here with my fam­ily and the guests. I think I will put lit­tle Aus­tralian flags in all the rooms and dec­o­rate the mo­tel. I think our cus­tomers would like that when ar­riv­ing here on Aus­tralia Day. It will be fun!

Brett “Mon” Gar­ling Artist:

Ev­ery day is Aus­tralia Day for me. Each day I get up and go out and paint and en­joy the scenery and the coun­try side, and just be­ing upright and breath­ing. It’s a great coun­try and we have plenty of free­dom still, so

what’s not to en­joy? On Aus­tralia Day it­self, we will prob­a­bly do the typ­i­cal thing and have a bar­be­cue or go down to the river, but it’s usu­ally just adlibbed. I don’t like to over-plan things – we’ll just go with the flow.

Kris Stevens, Dubbo:

I’LL be hav­ing a very quiet day and I will be re­spect­ing the fact that it’s not a cel­e­bra­tion for ev­ery­one and I’m of the opin­ion that per­haps the day should be changed or the date, at least, so it doesn’t have all those neg­a­tive as­so­ci­a­tions at­tached to it. Then it would be a clean slate and a day that we all can re­joice in and be happy that we are dif­fer­ent but we are all ac­tu­ally Aus­tralians and look to the fu­ture, rather than a date that re­minds some of us of some ter­ri­ble things that oc­curred. So a quiet day here, re­spect­ing ev­ery­one’s views. By the way, na­tion­al­ism means tak­ing for credit for things you didn’t do and at the same time hat­ing peo­ple you’ve never met.

Nar­romine’s Jolyon Laforgue and New York’s Treva We­beck:

TREVA and I, while we come from dif­fer­ent coun­tries, have sim­i­lar views on Aus­tralia Day and Amer­ica’s In­de­pen­dence and Colum­bus days – their in­dige­nous peo­ple also call the Fourth of July “in­va­sion day”. I said to a friend the other day that I can spend Aus­tralia Day cel­e­brat­ing liv­ing in the great­est coun­try in the world or I could ring up the ABC and be a so­cial­ist pro­gres­sive and side with the in­dige­nous peo­ple and repub­li­cans and talk about how badly we need to change and start by pulling the union jack off the flag. It’s pretty straight down the line for me - to each his own.

An­drew Mckay, Dubbo:

I usu­ally start the day by go­ing down to the Dubbo City Coun­cil Aus­tralia Day cel­e­bra­tions in Vic­to­ria Park. Af­ter that I like to have a pretty re­lax­ing sort of day; if some­one’s hav­ing a bar­be­cue I might at­tend that or go on a bike ride, watch a bit of cricket or have a pad­dle along our beau­ti­ful river. Just en­joy­ing the beau­ti­ful weather and recog­nis­ing what a great place it is to live in.

Trixie Watts, com­mu­nity health worker:

I cel­e­brate Aus­tralia Day some­times by at­tend­ing the events in Vic­to­ria Park in the morn­ing or with fam­ily or some­times we go up to the Mac­quarie Inn, they have a great fam­ily day up there. It just de­pends what’s hap­pen­ing with friends and fam­ily. As an Abo­rig­i­nal woman, Aus­tralia Day can be both a sad day and a happy day for me. It is sad in that I recog­nise what my grand­par­ents and great grand­par­ents went through but at the same time I’m happy be­cause there are a lot of re­ally good non-in­dige­nous peo­ple who have been a won­der­ful sup­port to me through­out my life. I have mixed chil­dren and I think you have to be thank­ful for what we have now while recog­nis­ing the mis­takes in the past as well.

Ali­cia Leggett, Orana Arts :

AS a US ci­ti­zen I am a bit con­fused by Aus­tralia Day. We don’t re­ally do any­thing for the day specif­i­cally, but we do catch up with my hus­band Shaun’s fam­ily. But what I found in­ter­est­ing is be­cause it was such a new hol­i­day to me, and as a new per­son ob­serv­ing, is that it’s not re­ally well re­ceived by all of Aus­tralia; the whole na­tion doesn’t back it.

Peo­ple I have worked with have called it “in­va­sion day” or artists that I’ve worked with have said it’s a very chal­leng­ing day for them. So I have all th­ese dif­fer­ent views of it. I thought, well, what’s the dif­fer­ence be­tween this day and In­de­pen­dence day in the US and in the US, In­de­pen­dence Day is cel­e­brat­ing the free­dom from Eng­land and Bri­tain and here it’s kind of like cel­e­brat­ing the Bri­tish com­ing!

And then you see the stereo­type, the loud, drunken, flag wear­ing beach goer? It’s a funny hol­i­day, so no, we don’t re­ally do too much to ac­knowl­edge it in our fam­ily.

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