By way of background, the First Fleet under Governor Phillip sailed from England on 13 May 1787 to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay, arriving between 10 and 20 January. It quickly became clear that Botany Bay was unsuitable for the intended purposes.
On 21 January, Phillip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) to the north to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there until 23 January, with Phillip naming the site Sydney Cove.
On the evening of 23 January the party returned to Botany Bay. Phillip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, but a gale prevented departure.On 25 January, the fleet tried again, but only HMS Supply succeeded in leaving carrying Arthur Phillip, Philip Gidley King, some marines and about 40 convicts. The Supply anchored in Sydney Cove in the afternoon of 25 January. . Early next morning, 26 January, Phillip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III.
After some difficulties, the remainder of the fleet joined the Supply on the 26th. It was not until 7 February 1788 that the formal proclamation establishing the colony under Phillip's governorship was read out.
The 26 January date had varying significance to different people and over time. To the new colonists and their descendants in NSW the day was celebrated early as foundation day. However, the other colonies that emerged selected other days to mark their history. The 1938 celebrations of 150 years since British settlement and the bicentenary celebrations of 1988 helped establish the date nationally, but it was not until 1994 that Australia Day became a uniform national celebration.
The Aboriginal position was more clear cut. 26 January marked the day on which ownership by the British crown was first asserted over part of their lands. Not all; dispossession would be a rolling process. 26 January became Invasion Day to distinguish from Australia Day.
In the beginning, the mass celebration of Australia Day was very much an official thing, mandated and funded by governments at all levels. However, it tapped into the deep threads of patriotism and celebration, of the desire to party, within Australians. Around the world, Australia Day has become an excuse to party.
You will get a feel for this from the text on eldest's Facebook post.
Best first Australia Day celebrations away from home ever - thank you to all the fab people who came to party! #copenhagen #australiaday2016celebrations #pavlova#lamingtons #homemadesausagerolls #timtams#teachingthedanesaboutsundaysessionsIn terms of the discussion we have been having on Australian culture, the tags are quite interesting in terms of things Australian, as well as introducing Danes to the more informal aspects of Australian social life.
To Australia's Aboriginal peoples and their supporters, Australia Day remains deeply conflicted. Aboriginal elements have been introduced into all the official functions, but to Invasion Day theme is strong. Many want the date shifted. I have very mixed views here. I am inclined to support shifting the date to remove the conflict elements, but also recognise that this is likely to mute the protests themselves. From the viewpoint of Aboriginal activism, the present date is quite a potent weapon. That will be lost if the date is shifted.
Briefly he is saying that if you look at the list of AOTY recipients, it has moved from a national recognition of significant achievement (Nobel Prizes, Writers, etc.) thru sportsmen and 'celebs', to now more recently 'people with a cause' - Flannery, Batty and now the General - to which we are supposed to subscribe for our betterment. And that's all aside from the fact that (according to him) we are one of the few countries who indulge in an Of The Year award.
I don't have a problem with the Australian of the Year espousing particular causes, indeed of using the honour to promote those causes. I do have a problem when the award appears to be based on causes.
I suppose that its the republic thing that has most got up my nose in the case of the the latest recipient, David Morrison. Once you introduce cause based nominations, then one's response depends on personal reactions to to the causes.
I accept that this can be a slippery distinction, but my feeling is that it introduces a bias where the cause is important as compared to achievement. Without in any way detracting from General Morrison's achievements, I find myself wondering if I am going to have to campaign against him on issues that he espouses and wishes to use promote via his his new platform. I don't think that's appropriate.
I am much more comfortable with the idea of introducing Danes to the pavlova. Of course, even here there is a problem. Is the pavlova in fact an Australian dish? Many kiwis would say no. In any event, I love pavlovas and am glad that eldest is spreading knowledge of it in Copenhagen.
Problems attached to the advocacy role of the Australian of the Year are well captured in this Canberra Times story, Australian of the Year: Catherine McGregor sorry after saying David Morrison choice was 'weak' Apparently Australian of the Year finalist and transgender military officer Catherine McGregor branded the appointment of her former boss David Morrison to the position as a "weak and conventional choice", but then apologised.
A key paragraph in the story reads:
:The National Australia Day Council Board said it was "very disappointed by the comments made today by the Queensland Australian of the Year, Catherine McGregor, and her apology is appreciated and accepted".
"The board stands by its decision to select David Morrison as the 2016 Australian of the Year as a champion of diversity and for marginalised communities in Australia, including the LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) community," the board said in a brief statement.