Celebrating Australia Day
On Australia Day this year, I attended a local government celebration in support of someone who was to be recognised for her contribution to the community.
I had previously avoided Australia Day celebrations in solidarity with Indigenous people who consider the date inappropriate and offensive. This is because 26 January is recognised as the date colonists from the UK took over the land and two centuries of harm and deprivation to the Indigenous population commenced. It’s an important date, but not a date for celebration for Indigenous people.
However, I was greatly encouraged by attending the Australia Day celebration. Indigenous culture and history were treated respectfully. An Indigenous group sang their version of the national anthem in their own language. Approximately 70 citizens who have moved to Australia from various countries around the world waved their Australian flags, applauded the Indigenous representatives and pledged allegiance to their new country.
There is still a way to go if we are to make 26 January a truly inclusive national day. However, these young Indigenous people in Newcastle are perhaps showing that reconciliation can be helped rather than hindered when we celebrate our national day on 26 January.
N.B. This is my final Samaritans blog as I am leaving the agency at the end of the month. Samaritans is truly a great place to work if you want to make a difference. For those of you who have visited the web page from time to time, thanks for your company and I wish us all well as we continue our endeavours to bring justice, compassion, integrity and inclusion to our communities.
All the best