January 26: Stuff all to do with us Sandgropers

TIM MUIRHEAD is a Fremantle resident who specialises in community and cross-cultural relations. He is the author of Finding
and Weaving Tapestries: a handbook for building communities. In this week’s THINKING ALLOWED he argues that we should change the date of Australia Day.

January 26th. Have we no pride?

What date Australia Day?

Truth is, most Australians I’ve spoken to, when pushed, don’t really care about the actual date.

They just want to be able to enjoy a national day.

One group, of course, does care about the date.

Many Aboriginal people find it, well, inappropriate.

But what about the rest of us?  Why do we care so little? Have we no pride?

Why would we thoughtlessly celebrate a date — January 26, 1788 — that has nothing to do with our nationhood?

It’s embarrassing!

Here’s five reasons why I reckon we should change the date.

It wasn’t the date our nation began. That happened on January 1, 1901.

There was not even any intention, in 1788 to found a nation.

They just wanted to expand Great Britain, and deal with horribly high incarceration rates.

If anything it should be a British holiday, not an Australian one.

Isn’t it time we let go the apron strings?

It’s got nothing to do with us in the west.

WA wasn’t founded until 1829.  January 26 (well…Februrary 7 really) was, at best, the beginnings of NSW.

It wasn’t, obviously, the beginning of ‘settlement’.

That had happened 40,000 to 60,000 years earlier.


And, of course: it marks the beginning of invasion and dispossession for those cultures that had nurtured and shaped our land for tens of thousands of years.

Surely, if we had an ounce of pride in our island home, we would honour those cultures, rather than ignoring or insulting them.

So …why can’t we find a day that has something to do with our nationhood, or at least with what we love about the place?

What about the day, in 1901, when we first became a nation, or the day when our first parliament met? (That would celebrate our nationhood.)

Or the day, in 1983, when we finally extended the vote to all people, regardless of gender or race? (That would celebrate our democracy.)

Maybe we could choose the day, in 1984, when Australians ceased to be subjects of Great Britain? (That would celebrate our independence.)

Or wait…what about a day that doesn’t mark a historic date at all, but says something about us today?

I asked at the beginning: ‘why do we care so little’? But maybe that points to one of our more endearing qualities — we’re a ‘carefree’ mob.

We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we like good weather, and we love a long weekend. So on that basis, what about, say, the third Friday in February? Good weather. Long weekend. Nothing too serious.

I dunno. What do you reckon?

Let’s at least TALK about it!

One response to “January 26: Stuff all to do with us Sandgropers

  1. My god what a puddle of Dribble!
    Let’s have a chat what a joke, after already stating the outcome and you are an asshole if disagree.
    That’s lefty debate, protocol, LOL
    Trying to turn it way form real discussion and bringing it down to a just another day off, nothing to serious, that’s sends the message the anti-Australian one, which is pretty much their whole point.

    It amazes me the anti-Australian sentiment we have in our community.
    How is something that started Australia as a nation, nothing to do with WA, it’s just more lefty dribble. No real facts so they just pump out attempts at emotional BS
    Their constant attempts to drag down anything to do with what founded one of the better democracies and places to live on the planet, it’s amazing.

    ANZAC day was one of the 1st Australian days they attacked, that failed so they moved onto something else
    Then let’s change the flag
    Then it’s we have to become a republic
    What’s the bullshit about apron strings, what are strings, its simple history and all the tears and BS isn’t going to change that.
    Britain colonized Australia, no changing that fact.
    Same small crew driving many issues that are done to undermine our country and sad pathetic attempts to run down those who display any patriotism.

    Aboriginal culture is front and centre at any Australian Day event and has been for years.

    Strange so many groups come and preform these ceremonies all over Australia but have a problem with it.
    To say that Australia Day is ignoring or insulting the Aboriginal people is purely only said to drive divisions in our community. It’s a statement to drive hate and division
    The fact that the aboriginals have a smoking ceremony to open Australian Days is for celebration, good will, blessing, its more than just lighting a fire. Unless these groups are saying that these Australians participating don’t take their own culture seriously, that’s sounds pretty insulting and divisive.

    Australia Day is and has worked fine for years,
    It’s popular
    It’s celebrated all over the world
    It’s inclusive
    It’s the main day new citizens are welcomed to our country,” Australian citizenship is more than just a ceremony and forms an important part of Australia Day celebrations. It symbolises our unity as a nation. It represents commitment to Australia and its people, the values we share and our common future. It also symbolises the sense of belonging to the country where we have been born or where we have decided to make our home. Australian citizenship is a shared identity, a common bond which unites all Australians while respecting our diversity.”

    Citizenship ceremonies have both personal and legal dimensions. Citizenship brings with it significant individual rights and responsibilities,
    Including the right to vote,
    Stand for public office,
    and travel on an Australian passport”

    The 26th of January 1788 was the 1st Day that started Australia as we see it now. Is it perfect, perhaps not but a far better place than most.

    NO matter what day is chosen, someone will have an issue with it.
    Once they change the date, then it will be remove the word Australia, attack the flag and so on.
    These groups and individuals are more interested in slow cooker anarchy and they will use anyone or section of our community to achieve their goals no matter the cost.

    Australia Day was heavily promoted in Fremantle by the council as a fantastic event for years it was inclusive, everyone was welcome just as it is all over Australia.
    Then suddenly it was not ok, what changed, nothing, actually, just their attempts to politically exploit another event for their own political and personal agendas.

    Strange that thousands of Aboriginals for years have participated in our Countries national day of celebration, with no mention of an invasion day?
    Now suddenly a small group wish to rewrite history, clearly they haven’t learnt much from it; as history is full of real invasions.
    What landed in NSW in 1788 was anything but an invasion. They may not like the colony but that’s what it was, a plain simple fact, their attempts to rewrite history or change the meaning of words is just a way to attempt to divide the community.
    Just as it was plain and simple with Fremantle councils actions which were just another one of their political motivated agendas

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