This year I will be marking Australia Day in a different way – will you? 81



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A Starts at 60 reader wrote in and told us she is reconsidering her stance on Australia day. Ann said, “Over the years the meaning of this day has changed for me – part of me wanted to celebrate another part of me felt sad for our indigenous people so I’ve been torn, not knowing what to do.

“This morning our pastor Colin talked about Australia Day and put things into perspective for me. Initially talking about the English that had been sent to Australia – some of them didn’t celebrate being sent here, the aboriginal inhabitants certainly didn’t celebrate the arrival of the first fleet yet here we are, people from all over the world now living in this great country.

“We don’t ‘celebrate’ Anzac Day but we observe it with great respect and thankfulness to those who went to war and those who lost loved ones, it’s not a celebration, much the same as Australia Day.

“I’m so very sorry people were forced to come, so sorry for the deaths of both black and white. But this year I will observe and enjoy Australia Day for the first time in many years. I can proudly say I’m not ashamed, not disrespectful to the indigenous people I work with and live with in our home town of Alice Springs, and finally not disrespectful to my three children who are proudly indigenous!

“I love this great country and hope she remains free from persecution for my children, grandchildren and their children.”

Ann’s comments are an echo of the message in Stan Grant’s groundbreaking speech (which you can see here), which has gone viral and which has been dubbed “Australia’s Martin Luther Kind moment”.

How will you mark Australia Day tomorrow? What does it mean to you?


Starts at 60 Writers

The Starts at 60 writers team seek out interesting topics and write them especially for you.

  1. I am descended from a Tasmanian aboriginal woman who was kidnapped from Tasmanian. She was taken to Kangaroo Island and taken as a ‘wife’. A family however arose from a probable violent beginning. I am sure this story can be repeated by many families, the violence of a convict past or the capture and rape of aboriginal women. Refugees fleeing wars. Not all our past is something we can be proud of. Not all our sides of our families peacefully began a life in this land. Our pride lies in what Australia became despite our past.

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    • Interesting family history. My family origins are quite tame by comparison. I am descended from the Vikings. My son when he found out was delighted. My family come from the Isle of Wight which apparently the Vikings conquered. Have a happy Australia Day.

    • Barbara Easthope Barbara if that is the case then I am sorry but we are no longer able to be friends. lol

    • Oh dear, my son is a Liberal – and a Lawyer – (which makes it twice as bad!!) and is active in the Liberal Party – and most of my Australian relatives are Liberals too. Don’t hold it against me please! Lol.
      Debbie my family go way back to William (Bill) the Conqueror.
      Happy Australia Day to everyone – black, brown, white…..let’s all come together and celebrate this great country.

  2. No. Not that I am less than a proud Australian, I just don’t like all the hype and not in the mood for people at the moment.
    I feel uncomfortable with a lot of Australia Day celebrating. It’s pretty much another excuse for being drunk and over-the-top ocker in public.

    2 REPLY
    • I totally agree the sight of drunken idiots walking around with the Australian flag wrapped around them is nothing to be proud of.

  3. I will be celebrating Australia Day by working at our local Tourist Information Center and welcoming foreign tourists to our beautiful country. I will be flying the flag.

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  4. Australia Day is for all to celebrate the beautiful country in which we live. Our soldiers fought and died for this country. I do feel sorry for the aborigines who had their land taken from them, but if it hadn’t been the English, it would’ve been some other country. I love this country and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I am a proud Australian and will celebrate Australia Day.

    3 REPLY
  5. Australia Day to me is a day we can all be very thankful we are lucky to live in this wonderful country. There are things in the past that I feel very sad about but I can only hope all Australians can learn from this and stand up and be proud of this great country we have become. Things are not perfect but we need to keep working towards making it better for everyone.

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  6. Well Iam glad to be an Australian and glad that my parents immigrated to this wo nderful country and glad that the British settled here, and it was unfortunate for the aborigines but that’s history and nothing can be done to change that now. Let’s rejoice, for we are one, we are many, from all parts of the world we come…we are AUSTRALIAN.

  7. My ancestors were free settlers. As far as I know they had respect for the indigenous. I love this country but do hate the history of white settlement. I am not all that happy with what we are doing in Australia. No I will not be celebrating Australia Day the way I have done in the past.

    6 REPLY
    • Jane Wyatt very few free settlers or criminals or anyone else had any respect for the aborigine in those days it was not in their nature they had been made to think that these people had no rights becsuse the land had been declared vacant the aborigine was considered to be a pest that interfered with the orderly development of the land it has taken some time for us to lose that unfortunate attitude.

    • Jane Wyatt dont we all but dont hold your breath it was the way of the world in those days and all those people saw no wrong in it and thought they were within their rights.

    • Mine obviously weren’t, I’ve got a good dose of aboriginal blood in my veins, though it appears my white ancestors set sail from the UK as free men and set up the town of Geeves Town all those years ago. I’m happy to be here no matter the past and find it difficult to feel sorry for my past when I have so much to be happy for now.

  8. I think many of us value this country particularly more and more as we see what is happening in many other parts of the world so we can be thankful for what we take for granted, no matter colour, religion or beginnings. Freedom to say and voice our opinion freedom for our children and the next generation and a desire to all get along and enjoy this place.

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