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This is Australia Day (26th January)

John was born and raised in Australia. Subsequently, he is interested in all things Australian: language, sport and culture.

this-is-australia-day

Australia Day Debate Still Rages in 2021

One of the biggest news stories (or so the media like to have us think) is the former tennis great Margaret Court's promotion to the highest level of the Order of Australia, as part of this years Australia Day Awards coming under fire from two state premiers and LGBT groups concerned about her past criticisms of same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has described Australia Day as "a chance for Australians from all walks of life, from all backgrounds” to join together to celebrate how far the country has come."

He said it was important to be honest about Australia’s past “failings” while also still being able to recognise its achievements.

While the idea of every Australian joining together on January 26 to celebrate might be Mr Morrison’s goal, experts say it is not the reality and it is unlikely to ever be achieved.

January 26, 1788, was the day the British First Fleet of convict ships arrived at Sydney Cove and founded the colony of NSW.

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the anniversary of this day is not one to celebrate as it marks the start of the dispossession and marginalisation of Indigenous Australians. Many actually call it "Invasion Day."

Reconciliation Australia, says, many Aboriginal people wish to celebrate Australian values and freedoms but feel they can’t do that on January 26.

“The historical events of January 26 mean that many Australians – both Indigenous and non-Indigenous – perceive it as a date that marks the commencement of a long history of violence and trauma."

This is the basis of the ongoing argument for changing the date of Australia Day to one all Australians can celebrate. (Source: news.com.au)

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My Australia Day 2015

Today, 26th January was 'Australia Day' and a public holiday for all Australians. To celebrate this occasion my wife Kathy and I were invited to a BBQ hosted by the local QCWA (Queensland Country Women's Association) and held in a quiet bush setting at the home of some close friends.

Despite impending storms (which fortunately held off until we had finished lunch) and thunder threatening, we had a great day of good food and company in true "Aussie" tradition (informal, relaxed, and outdoors).

We actually cheated this year and had two Australia Day celebrations. Yesterday, Sunday 25th January we spent the day, and had another BBQ (Aussie's just love them) at our son's house. A nephew and his family that we hadn't seen for over two years contacted us to say they were passing through town and wished to catch up. We arranged to meet at Jared's for a BBQ and celebrate an early Australia Day. A day of fasting may be called for tomorrow to recover from an abundance of food.

While most Australians embrace a holiday and love to celebrate Australia Day in a variety of ways but generally relaxing with family and friends, good food and a few drinks, there is a lot more behind the day than that. I hope the rest of this hub may give you a little more insight.

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How It Came To Be

On 26th January 1788 British sovereignty was proclaimed over the eastern seaboard of Australia (at the time known as New Holland)when the British flag was raised at Port Jackson, New South Wales by Governor Arthur Phillip of the First Fleet.

Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26th January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. On New Years Day 1901, the British colonies of Australia formed a Federation, marking the birth of modern Australia.

It was not until 1935 that all Australian states and territories agreed on a national day of unity and adopted use of the term "Australia Day" to mark the date. Then not until 1994 was a nationwide public holiday declared on 26th January. unless it falls on a weekend in which case the following Monday becomes a public holiday instead.

The meaning and significance of Australia Day has evolved over time and proved somewhat controversial. The date has also been variously named "Anniversary Day", "Invasion Day", "Foundation Day", and "ANA (Australian Natives' Association Day).

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The 2015 recipients are:

Australian of the Year 2015

Rosie Batty - Domestic Violence Campaigner

Senior Australian of the Year 2015

Jackie French - Author

Young Australian of the Year 2015

Drisana Levitzke-Gray - Deaf advocate

Australia's Local Hero 2015

Juliette Wright - Social entrepreneur

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How the Day is Celebrated

In today's Australia, the holiday is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and obligatory addresses by the Governor-General and the Prime Minister.

On Australia Day eve each year, the Prime Minister announces the winner of the Australian of the Year award, presented to an Australian citizen who has shown a "significant contribution to the Australian community and nation" and is an "inspirational role model for the Australian community". Other awards include Young Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year, and an award for Australia's Local Hero.

The variety of celebrations across the country reflect the diverse society and landscape of the nation, with community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, as well as citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community. The day is celebrated in cities, towns, and small communities around the nation. and Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.

A number of music festivals are held on this day, such as the Big Day Out, and the Australia Day Live Concert which is televised nationally. An international cricket match has also traditionally been held for many years on Australia Day at the Adelaide Cricket Oval.

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Children carrying the Australian Aboriginal Flag in Brisbane on Australia day.

Children carrying the Australian Aboriginal Flag in Brisbane on Australia day.

Australia Day and Indigenous Australians

The choice of 26th January as the day of celebration for all Australians has been questioned and debated since the 1800s. That the day might symbolise invasion, dispossession and death to many Aboriginal people was a concept alien to the average Australian even until the latter half of the 20th century.

It has consistently been argued that January 26th “can never be a truly national day for it symbolises to many Aborigines the date they were conquered and their lands occupied. This divisive aspect to 26 January, the commemoration of the landing at Sydney Cove will never be reconciled” (Sydney Morning Herald 2 Jan 1995)

By 1888, the year of the centenary celebrations, the white population had increased significantly while the Aboriginal population had declined from at least 750,000 in 1788 to a mere estimated 67,000. (Aboriginal people were not counted in the census until after 1967).

Involvement of the Indigenous community on Australia Day has taken many forms – forced participation in re-enactments, mourning for Invasion Day, peaceful protest through to an acknowledgment of survival and an increasing participation in community events.

"Invasion Day" has been widely used to describe the alternative Indigenous observance of Australia Day. Although some Indigenous Australians celebrate Australia Day, Invasion Day protests occur almost every year. In Sydney in 1988 a large gathering of Aboriginal people led an "Invasion Day" remembrance protest marking the loss of Indigenous culture.

Re-enactments of Arthur Phillip’s landing continued to be part of Australia Day ceremonies around the country until the Bicentennial in 1988 when the New South Wales government refused to condone a re-enactment as part of their official proceedings.

26th January is also known as "Survival Day" and marked by events such as the Survival Day concert first held in Sydney in 1992, celebrating the fact that the Indigenous people and culture have not been completely wiped out. An increasing number of Indigenous communities are now participating in their local Australia/Survival Day ceremonies and celebrations. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags are raised alongside the Australian flag.

The Woggan-ma-gule ceremony is also part of the day and offers a model for the present and future. It says that the Indigenous ceremony is an important and integral part of being a modern Australian. It offers recognition that the storylines of the past are full of pain because of the dispossession, brings the Indigenous voice back to the sacred grounds once more, and promotes values held by us all: the values of respect, tolerance and justice, for if asked, all Australians would say that these are central to our identity.

Hundreds of Invasion Day protesters march at the back of the Australian Day Parade in Melbourne's CBD. Photo: Jason South

Hundreds of Invasion Day protesters march at the back of the Australian Day Parade in Melbourne's CBD. Photo: Jason South

Are We a Democratic Society?

In Australia we consider our society a democracy. According to The Australian Oxford Dictionary, the term democracy refers to "government by the whole population, usually through elected representatives; nation so governed or classless and tolerant society' (p284). Democracy is specified as:
1) The idea that all people in a country have identical rights.
2) A political system of social organisation where a representative and accountable government is elected and given the responsibility of ensuring the maintenance of law and order."

An integral part of a democracy is diversity of views. Gandhi said: "Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress. But honest debate can only come through trust and understanding, based on knowledge, not prejudices."

Debates such as: .

  • Is it Australia Day or Survival Day?;
  • Is a treaty a good thing for Australia;
  • Should we have a Bill of Rights?
  • Should our Constitution be amended to recognise our Aboriginal people?

are important for our society as they are part of the actual fabric of true democracy.

And if we call ourselves a democracy, then it is important to reflect on the successes of such a democracy, as well as the areas that need improvement. This can be done by asking ourselves a series of questions.

  • Are all members of our society equal before the law?
  • Do all members of our society have equal access to health and education services?
  • Are identifiable groups in our society over-represented in prisons or below the poverty line?
  • Are people free to walk anywhere at anytime?

Although there have been major advances made in regard to improving 'equality' and 'reconciliation' in recent years I still don't think we can be comfortable with the answers to these questions. Until we are then we are not a truly successful democracy.

Continuing Protests

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Update Deng Thiak Adut's Inspiring Australia Day Speech

References:

australia day.com.au

wikipedia.org

© 2015 John Hansen

Comments

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 22, 2021:

This is a wonderful article, Beata. Thank you for the link.

Beata Stasak from Western Australia on January 22, 2021:

https://discover.hubpages.com/politics/Power-and-P...

Beata Stasak from Western Australia on January 22, 2021:

https://letterpile.com/personal-essays/Isolation-i...

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2016:

Thank you for revisiting this hub Chitrangada. It is Republic Day for you isn't it? If so have a great one.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 27, 2016:

Came back to read your wonderful hub once again and wish you A Very Happy Australia Day!

I learnt a lot about your beautiful country through your hub.

Thanks for the education.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on May 08, 2015:

Hi RTalloni, thanks for reading this hub. Glad it was helpful and hope you do get to visit our shores one day.

RTalloni on May 08, 2015:

Thanks for some education on Australia Day and issues related to it. This is a useful read for anyone for understanding different countries roots, progresses, failures, and questions helps everyone. One of our children has visited your country, and we have friends there, but it's still on our to do list. Maybe one day… :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 14, 2015:

haha Catherine, at least the British are responsible for giving both our countries something to celebrate even if it's for much different reason. Thanks for the vote up.

Catherine Giordano from Orlando Florida on March 13, 2015:

Very interesting. In the US we celebrate kicking the British out of the colonies, and in Australia you celebrate welcoming them in. January is summer in Australia so you celebrate the same as we do on July 4th--barbeques. Voted up ++

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on March 12, 2015:

Hi Bill, thanks for reading this hub. Yes from what I hear Australia Day is similar to your 4th of July. With this world now being so small and more and more people travelling overseas, the Internet etc it amazes me that there are still so many things about our own countries that others aren't aware of. I find that when I am at a lo for something to write I can't go wrong looking in my own backyard to come up with something that is new to others here on HP. I hope you do get to extend your travels to Australia one day soon. Our dollar is the lowest it's been for ages compared to the $US..(around 70c).so it's a good time to come here.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on March 12, 2015:

Hi John. How interesting. I was not familiar with Australia Day so I learned something new today. It sort of reminds me of our Fourth of July or maybe our Thanksgiving Day.

I have wanted to visit Australia for some time now. A good friend of mine just returned from there a few weeks ago and raved about it. Hopefully we'll get the opportunity to visit in the future. Thanks for the glimpse into your beautiful country.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 13, 2015:

Thanks for reading this Suhail and for the great comment. i am pleased that you have a genuine interest in Australia. I imagine you will be watching The Cricket World Cup that begins tomorrow. Steve Irwin was a wonderful Australian and Robyn Davidson 's journey across inland Australia was remarkable.I have never been an AC/DC fan but I think I am in the minority there. Good luck with your plans to visit soon and thanks for the belated Australia Day wishes.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 13, 2015:

Yes that is most definitely a misconception Blackspaniel. The Indigenous people have been fighting for equality and better conditions for many years, but their voice has been effectively suppressed to the rest of the world.Almost the entire aboriginal population of Tasmania (Van Diemen's Land) were wiped out following British colonization. Thanks for reading.

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on February 13, 2015:

Hi Jodah,

Very well written and an informative hub! I liked reading it.

My interest in Australia comes from the love of cricket and squash, listening to AC/DC since 1980s, following programs and movies of Steve Irwin, the crocodile hunter, and most importantly from reading the book Tracks by Robyn Davidson, who completed a 1700 miles distance in Australian outback from Alice Springs to Perth in the company of 4 camels and one dog.

Australia is a great country that I will definitely visit one day soon.

Finally, a belated happy Australia Day.

Blackspaniel1 on February 12, 2015:

I had always thought that Australia was settles alongside the indigenous people, and there was no hostility. Apparently this was a misconception.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 12, 2015:

Thanks for the belated Australia Day wishes Mel. It was a good one. Good to hear that you fell in love with Australia during your naval service Mel. It does seem our two countries have a lot in common, both good and bad. Cheers.

Mel Carriere from Snowbound and down in Northern Colorado on February 12, 2015:

God bless the Aussies and happy belated Australia Day! Coincidentally enough, Jan 26 is when I joined the Navy, and two trips to your country on board a naval cruiser made me fall in love with the place. I have often said if there was one other country I would die for it would be Australia.

The United States also has a sullied history of mistreating our native people. We pushed them to new lands, said it was theirs forever, then took that away later too, usually when gold was discovered there.

Anyhow, great hub and happy Australia Day!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 10, 2015:

Thank for reading peachpurple. No need to apologise for the late comment. We Aussies do like to enjoy our holidays.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on February 09, 2015:

sorry for late comment, happy australia day and you guys seem to have so much fun than Asians holidays, voted up

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on February 08, 2015:

Thanks for your insightful comment Deb. It would be great if an Australian Aboriginal could be the next Nobel Prise winner. Believe me there are plenty who are worthy.

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on February 08, 2015:

I have heard of Australian Day(I was given a calendar from Scotland for Christmas), so thanks for explaining the holiday. I think it is necessary to make the aborigines proud of their heritage, and Australian should be proud of them, too. One of them could be the next Nobel Prize winner...

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 29, 2015:

Thank you Chris, glad this hub was interesting and informative for you. I did have a nice Australia Day. Thanks for the vote up too.

Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on January 29, 2015:

This is an excellent and highly interesting, thorough hub. I had no idea about this event. Hope you had a Happy Australia Day as well. The pictures were great. Voted up

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 28, 2015:

Thanks Frank..if you ever get to visit these shores I'm sure we'll find something to celebrate. Aussies don't need much of an excuse for a BBQ and a few beers :)

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on January 28, 2015:

I hope your holiday was fun enjoyable.. and entertaining.. I'm sorry I never heard of any holidays you mentioned in your poll, but rest assure I'll be the first in-line to help celebrate!!!!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 28, 2015:

Yes Jamie, I had a "happy" Australia Day thanks. I appreciate the comment and glad you enjoyed reading this.

Jamie Lee Hamann from Reno NV on January 28, 2015:

I hope you had a Happy Australia Day or is it Merry? I like how you discuss the holiday and the controversy behind the holiday it makes for a very fulfilling read. Jamie

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 28, 2015:

Thank you for the kind comment Pamela. Australia Day is a good celebration and it will be even better when we all come together to find common ground and celebrate what we have in common. I hope you get to visit here one day.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 28, 2015:

I learned some Australian history from your hub. It sounds like a great celebration. I would love to visit Australia. Awesome hub!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Thanks for reading Alicia. It seems our countries have a lot in common and some of the same problems as well. Have a good day.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Yes apparently so Audrey. Australia has refused to sign the UN human rights legislation, and we are going turning back asylum seekers or sending them to detention centres off shore at Naru and Manus Island. So the Bill of Rights may be in some contention.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Thanks Mike. I have heard of Fatal Shores but haven't read it. Glad to hear you are aware of our history then. It is quite interesting when you hear it from both sides.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 27, 2015:

Thank you for sharing the interesting information about Australia Day, Jodah. Thank you also for discussing the situation of the indigenous people of your country and their culture. Like you, I think these are important topics to consider, just as they are here in Canada.

Audrey Howitt from California on January 27, 2015:

I ghosted a series of articles for an Australian attorney a couple of years ago on the issue of a bill of rights in Australia--is that still being argued?

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on January 27, 2015:

Happy Holiday. Years ago I read Fatal Shores which outlined the rich history of your homeland.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

cfin, you make a very good point. I too am of the opinion that we all need to get over what happened in the past and move on as a United people. You are write..we didn't commit the atrocities, our ancestors (or the British to be precise) did. If anyone really needs to apologise to the Aboriginal people it is the British Government, but then almost every country has been invaded and conquered at some stage and very rarely is there an apology. Thanks for your insightful comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

We are learning new things every day. What a coincidence to be in Turkey during the ANZAC Day commemoration at Gallipoli. You certainly must have wondered what was going on. Thanks for reading brownella.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Thank you Vellur. So glad you found this hub interesting.

cfin from The World we live in on January 27, 2015:

Eventually lets hope the conquerors and the conquered can live together as one, realizing that it was their ancestors who carried out these deeds and not them. Mutual respect and moving on can only result in a better life for everyone involved.

brownella from New England on January 27, 2015:

Fascinating hub. I have a couple Australian friends but I had never heard of Australia day. I did learn about Anzac day last spring but only because I happened to be in Turkey in late April and finally asked one of the huge groups of Australians what was going on. Thanks for sharing :-)

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on January 27, 2015:

Interesting and informative enjoyed reading all about Australia Day.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Thanks for accepting my invite Wednesday-Elf. I was hoping you'd find something in this hub of interest. It was a good day. I appreciate the up vote too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Yes national pride is high in this country. We are quite proud to be Australian. Yes I know about washing your car and it will rain. Water is normally scarce here so if it starts to rain I take the car out and wash it in the rain..invariably that makes it stop... :) ..Thanks for your comment Arachnea

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Yes national pride is high in this country. We are quite proud to be Australian. Yes I know about washing your car and it will rain. Water is normally scarce here so if it starts to rain I take the car out and wash it in the rain..invariably that makes it stop... :) ..Thanks for your comment Arachnea

Wednesday-Elf from Savannah, Georgia on January 27, 2015:

Such an interesting history lesson about your Australia Day. I knew some of the facts, but enjoyed learning more about how your holiday came about and what it is today. Sounds like you enjoyed your personal celebrations of this annual holiday. Thumbs up!

Tanya Jones from Texas USA on January 27, 2015:

National pride is high, I see in Australia. It's great that citizens appreciate their country and also seek to make it better for all. I'm glad the storms held off. The rule of thumb here is if you wash your car, it'll rain. If you plan a bbq then everyone gets the flu or some such. Glad you had a happy day.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Happy Republic Day Chitrangada. Thank you for reading about Australia Day and for voting this up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Happy Republic Day Chitrangada. Thank you for reading about Australia Day and for voting this up.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on January 27, 2015:

A very Happy Australia Day to you!

Its interesting to know how you and the whole country celebrate this landmark day. Enjoyed going through your hub and learning so many interesting things about Australia.

Incidentally we Indians celebrate our Republic Day, on 26th January.

Thanks for this informative and enjoyable hub! Voted up!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

G'day agvulpes. Yes we all have to work together to make this day acceptable to everyone no matter what background, or maybe we need to have another holiday and call it "Sorry Day" on the anniversary of when Kevin Rudd said sorry to the stolen generation. Thanks for your comment.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Thank you for reading and commenting MsDora. Yes there are both good and bad aspects associated with Australia Day but we have to keep working toward the good and embracing all Australians from every background. We did have an enjoyable time though.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Thank you for reading and commenting MsDora. Yes there are both good and bad aspects associated with Australia Day but we have to keep working toward the good and embracing all Australians from every background. We did have an enjoyable time though.

Peter from Australia on January 27, 2015:

G'day Mate and from one Aussie to another Happy Australia Day to you :)

You have written a well balanced Hub and I would agree with you wholeheartedly!

I feel that we ( and I mean all Australians) must start pulling in the same direction or we stand a very serious risk, of not maintaining our much envied way of life!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 27, 2015:

Jodah, thanks for offering this factual insight into Australia and Australians--and Australia Day. It is important to remember and celebrate the good, and there is much to be grateful for. Seems you and your family had a great time!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Hey DDE, good to see you. Yes it was an enjoyable day. Thanks for the vote up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Hello again Phyllis. "Sir Jodah" does have a nice ring to it. The "Dreamtime" is such a rich and captivating cultural belief. All the more interesting that the stories have been passed down by dance, painting and spoken language only....as the Aboriginal had no written language. I hope you get to check Australia off your bucket list soon.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on January 27, 2015:

Great photos! Sounds a fun celebration. You enlightened me on a wonderful day in Australia. Voted up!

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 27, 2015:

Hi Rota, good to see another Aussie. Thunder and storm clouds were threatening us here too but fortunately they held off until our celebrations were finishing. Our Australian culture, celebrations etc seem to be popular on Hub Pages. Most people don't seem to know a lot about our country. Hope you had a good one despite the weather.

Rota on January 27, 2015:

Hey great that you put Australia day on Hubpages! Too bad the whether was wet here in Sydney for the celebrations.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 27, 2015:

I bestow knighthood upon you, Jodah.

I meant to tell you that when I wrote about the dreamtime tradition and history, I fell in love with Australia after all the research I did. It is on my bucket list to visit your country.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Great to hear that you have a celebration in India on the same day Dip...but for the opposite reason. Australia Day celebrates our country being placed under British rule, while yours is gaining freedom from British rule. One controversial thing that occurred was that Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh , was awarded a knighthood (Knight of the Order of Australia) by our Prime Minister. Most people think this is crazy giving a knighthood to a member of the British Royals who is already a knight anyway.It has only been given to Australian citizens before.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

G'day Maj. Glad you liked this hub. I too am not happy about our indigenous people have been treated over the year and can fully understand how they are not happy with Australia Day celebrations. At least NSW have stopped having re-enactments of the First Fleet landing as a mark of respect. Things are slowly changing and if their culture is recognized in changes to the Constitution things may improve more. There are some very good Aboriginal advocates now and their voice is being heard.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thanks Jan, glad you enjoyed reading a little about my culture and Australia Day. Thank you for the vote up too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thanks Clive..the wide brown outback always welcomes visitors :)

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thanks for your great comment Faith(Theresa), it seems not a lot is known about Australia in the outside world...apart from our Kangaroos and Koalas etc. Glad I could add a little to your knowledge. Yes Australia Day and your 4th July sound very similar in the way we celebrate them. This was the first year that all winners of the Australian of the Year awards are all women..that's quite a milestone. Thanks also for the vote up, pin, tweet and share. Bless you.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thank you Michael, your kind comment is most welcome as are your prayers for the men, women and children of my country. Glad you enjoyed this hub.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Hello Flourish, well now you know a little more about Australia Day and our country's history. Yes it's high time that we had something like the Bill of Rights or at least have amendments made to the Constitution to acknowledge our first people. Thanks for the vote up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Hello traveleze (Lee), thank you for reading this hub. Always glad to impart a little of our history on others who are interested. Much appreciated.

Dip Mtra from World Citizen on January 26, 2015:

Great hub Jodah. Yesterday, Jan 26, we celebrated our Republic Day here. The chief guest was Obama at the celebrations, and we had a splendid holiday yesterday.

India gained its freedom from the British in 1947 and became a republic in 1950.

travmaj from australia on January 26, 2015:

G'day John, You wrote an excellent piece on Australia Day. Thanks for that. I guess I'm still a little uncomfortable about the date and the indigenous people. (Better not start on Knights!!!)

However, there's much to celebrate, so much to offer. Thanks again.

Janis Leslie Evans from Washington, DC on January 26, 2015:

Colorful and informative hub, Jodah. Happy Australia Day! I appreciate the education about your rich culture. Voted up, useful, and awesome.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on January 26, 2015:

Nice mate+ will visit the outback oneday

Faith Reaper from southern USA on January 26, 2015:

Happy Australia Day, John! I have never heard of this holiday or the others. I loved reading all about your country's interesting history here too.

Australia Day sounds much like our 4th of July with the bbq, good food and fun outdoors. We have fireworks too and the red, white and blue.

It is a usually a relaxed holiday with family and friends gathering together to celebrate.

I love that all of the winners of the Australian of the Year award are women, or appear to be by their names! Go women.

Fascinating hub.

Up ++++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing

Yes, you must fast now after eating all that food.

Michael-Milec on January 26, 2015:

Congratulating to Australia Day, with prayer , may the Almighty bless and protect you and all goodwill men,women boys and girls.

Thanks for history lesson.

Voted up and beautiful

FlourishAnyway from USA on January 26, 2015:

I knew nothing of Australia Day or much of your country's history, so I enjoyed this. It's interesting that Australia has no parallel to the American Bill of Rights and that it's such a debate. Different governments. Enjoyed your hub. Voted up and more!

Lee John from Preston on January 26, 2015:

Hi Jodah

What a great hub! I love Australia but its great to learn some history

Thanks again

lee

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thank you for reading Elsie. Yes our countries are very similar, particularly in regard to our indigenous people. I look forward to reading your hub about Waitangi Day.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thanks for that informative comment chef. It's great that you have experienced some of the real Australia, have experienced hard yakka and understand the situation with our indigenous people and their dreamtime. They are a very proud race and rightly so. Thank you for the vote up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

That's exactly right Jackie. Despite all their faults we still love and care about our own countries above all else. We have our problems but I wouldn't wish to live anywhere else. Yes, another red white and blue.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Hi SAQIB, good to see you. Glad you like the Aussie attitude, especially displayed by our cricketers. You mention some great names there and the way he is going Steve Smith could become the greatest captain of them all. Thanks for you good wishes, blessings to you also.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thanks for reading Mary and the Aussie Day wishes too. Yes our countries are surprisingly similar in many ways, especially the history and treatment of our indigenous people. Thank you also for the vote up.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Paula, thank you for the Australia Day wishes, and those Angels. I'll throw another shrimp on the barbie for them.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Haha thanks for sharing that Phyllis. We do all see things differently don't we. Glad you liked the images and cartoon too.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Hi Phyllis, thanks for that great comment. I thought this subject may be one that would appeal to you as I know you are passionate about your own indigenous people. I think it is good for the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony to be included as part of Australia Day because it's message is so important. I am glad you found this educational and interesting. Glad you enjoyed the video "my Country" as well. Thank you for the vote up and share.

Elsie Hagley from New Zealand on January 26, 2015:

I enjoyed reading this article.

Waitangi Day (New Zealand Day) is celebrated on Feb 6 th it is much like your Australia day, still many unanswered questions and unhappy people about the whole situation.

I will be writing a hub about it in the next week.

Glad you enjoy your Australia Day celebrations.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Yes MizB, it does sound similar to your Independence Day (4th of July) and sounds as though both our native peoples feel the same way. During my research I read that Aboriginal Australians weren't included on the census until 1968. Despite the political issues, Australia Day is a good day for a barbie and to catch up with family and friends.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Glad to be able to pass on a little history lesson of some educational value. Thanks for reading and commenting.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Glad you enjoyed this hub Dana. Thank you for reading.

John Hansen (author) from Gondwana Land on January 26, 2015:

Thank you Shauna, yes like yours our democracy looks good on paper. It's putting it in practice where the problem lies. Glad to help with a little more Australian history.

Andrew Spacey from Near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire,UK on January 26, 2015:

I spent April - November of 1989 in Western Australia and had a fantastic empowering time. For me being in the land down under fulfilled a kind of dream - I'd always wanted to walk in the outback and set eyes on kangeroos and koalas and such. Although I had to work (picking nectarines- hard yakka- and helping a guy with MS) to earn some dollars I did get the chance to go inland - to Kalgoorlie and area - and also walk in the Kalamunda Hills and visit other wilder places. Excellent all round. I'm glad you mentioned the indigenous people too because they have suffered - no doubt - but they remain rightly proud of their dreamtime culture. Thank you for the celebration hub. Voted up and shared.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on January 26, 2015:

We love our countries John no matter how we came about them; don't we? It isn't like we personally would want to hurt anyone and we are just thankful for what we have! I am pleased you love your country as I do mine and I see we even share the same red, white and blue colors!

SAQIB from HYDERABAD PAKISTAN on January 26, 2015:

I love the OZs for Never-say-Die attitude !! Especially cricketers like Sir Don Bradman, Ricky Ponting, Shane Warne, Micheal Clarke and Steve Smith now a days. Celebrate the days !! John

!! Stay Blessed !!

Mary Craig from New York on January 26, 2015:

Happy Australia Day! Its incredible how similar our countries are. Equality is sch a tenuous thing to actually reach and keep. We think things are equal but so often find they are not! It is hard to know what is really happening in the lives of others but it is certainly our job to find out.

Well written, as always, and for us in the states very informative.

Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on January 26, 2015:

Happy Australia Day to all.

I keep learning more and more about this special day..thanks for all of the info ...

Angels are on the way to you today. ps

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 26, 2015:

PS: I love the images you included. That cartoon on the "boat people" is priceless and your first image at the top is beautiful and powerful. The boat people cartoon reminds me of what a dear Native American friend of mine once said, "The pilgrims misunderstood what the "first Thanksgiving" meant, for it was actually to give them a going away party." She did say it with humour, though.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 26, 2015:

Happy Australia Day!

Jodah, I so enjoyed this hub. The video, My Country, has some beautiful scenes of Australia and that young man's voice is so strong and passionate. Your section on democracy is such a powerful message to all and provides excellent questions to ponder on.

Your section on the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony seems to truly promote "values held by us all: the values of respect, tolerance and justice, for if asked, all Australians would say that these are central to our identity."

The history you provide on this special day and the events, both sides, is really interesting and I so enjoyed learning from you.

I am very impressed with this well-written article.

Voted Up ++++ and sharing. Well done, Jodah, thank you!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on January 26, 2015:

Very good and informative, John. Australia Day sounds a lot like our 4th of July celebrations for Independence Day. My husband, being over half Native American refuses to celebrate July 4. I am also part Native American and have mixed feelings about it. I can certainly see where the aboriginal people of your country might want to protest. Our people who retained their Native American heritage were not allowed full citizenship in the USA until about 1926, so you can see why so many NAs who passed for white refused to sign onto the Indian Rolls. That causes some of us problems today. I hope the aboriginals in your country don't run into that in the future.

Anyway, BBQs and picnics are good any day! Voted up++ and shared

Russ Inserra from Indianapolis, In on January 26, 2015:

Thanks for the info. Very interesting and very educational.

Dana Tate from LOS ANGELES on January 26, 2015:

Beautiful illustration John I loved the story and the pictures.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on January 26, 2015:

Happy Australia Day, John! It sounds like your democracy is much like ours. It's all good on paper, but is it truly practiced?

You did a great job of presenting this history and controversy behind Australia Day. I knew none of this. Thanx for the education!

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