Australia Day 2016 has passed

Australia day has passed us by for another year. Celebrated not on the day we became a country on the 1st January 1901, but on the day the flag was raised in Sydney Cover by Captain Arthur Phillip on a land declared terra nullius – “nobody’s land” – used describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, despite the hundreds of languages and nations that existed in Australia at that time.

With January 26th having an impact on the original inhabitants (called Invasion Day or Survival Day) and the date meaningless for when we became a nation perhaps the date needs to be changed.

Here are a few of my favourite things from the 26th.

Youth worker Angelica McLean with friends at Warburton WA, Australia Day 2016
Youth worker Angelica McLean with friends at Warburton WA, Australia Day 2016

At Warburton in the remote Ngaanyatjarra Lands in Western Australia Angelica McLean painted up a number of people in the Australian colours of red,black and yellow and shared it through Facebook.

In Victoria the Country Fire Authority put out a call for images representing the spirit of the nation to mark Australia Day Angela Joy, a volunteer fire fighter with Tallygaroopna fire brigade put up the picture below (see Facebook for all the positive comments) which is such a positive image on so many levels

breastfeeding firefighter

And then there was Lee Lin Chin in Operation Boomerang, the annual Australia Day campaign to eat more lamb was released online before a tv advertising campaign. It attracted about 650 complaints, most of them by vegans saying it incites hatred against them. I reckon their complaints brought more ridicule than the add promoted hatred. Poor little veganites.

Operation Boomerang was a great name except it was to promote a day using an Indigenous word (or at least an English version of an Indigenous word) on a day that celebrates the arrival of Europeans and the start of colonisation with the dispossession and massacres that came with it. I can understand how some feel it to be an insult on an insult.

I urge you to take a look at an article written by Arrernte woman Celeste Liddle titled How to show solidarity with Indigenous Australians this Invasion Day

Here is the ad for those of you who have been locked in a closet

And thanks Geli for letting me use the photo.

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Robbo is a pharmacist working with a very remote Aboriginal Health Service in the deserts of Western Australia. + Andrew Robbo Roberts

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