Invasion Day

I know a lot of people have strong opinions on Australia Day, what it means, if we should continue to have a national holiday, and some aren’t too concerned as long as a public holiday remains. I definitely hold the view that Aboriginal culture and history should be respected, in particular when thinking about our national holiday. My mind goes in circles when thinking and writing about Australia Day and its history. I know that some people don’t delve too much into the thinking about Australia Day’s date and the significance of it. For some people it’s just nice to have the day off and relax. I know I did some classic Aussie things on Australia Day this year 2022. I went to Bunnings and had a sausage sizzle BBQ. It wasn’t so much to celebrate but it was more the fact that I had a day off and my sister and I wanted to do some gardening. Then two seconds later we smelt the BBQ and it just happened to be Australia Day whilst we were doing all of that.

I saw a documentary where an interviewer was asking people on Australia Day why they celebrate it and informed some that the day is actually when the country was invaded; the beginning of the loss of Aboriginal land, rights, freedoms, culture, language and history. Sometimes people were quite surprised by this information and just hadn’t been informed, or thought much about Australia Day and Aboriginal people in conjunction. Other responses were disturbing where they would ignore and dismiss what the interviewer just said as if he were lying. I understand that sometimes it can be difficult to deconstruct thinking, beliefs and values which people have had for a long time or since birth, but the alternative of turning a blind eye to injustice and genocide is devasting.

I did a little research to understand what exactly people are celebrating. Many celebrate Australia broadly with no reference to its colonisation history. Others celebrate the welcoming of new citizens, whilst some celebrate having a day off to day drink and stick Australian flag merchandise all over the place. I don’t think that many people are saying not to celebrate Australia or Australian culture. A lot of the controversy appears to be around the specific date of Australia Day. Many countries have national holidays which aren’t in union with colonisation periods. I believe we can still be patriots and proud of Australia whilst making a significant effort to achieving reconciliation. Perhaps a place to continue reconciliation efforts would be with changing the date?

I read a beautiful poem in an article on ‘Creative Spirits’ website, under ‘Australia Day – Invasion Day’, by Sandra Gaal Hayman:

I am not black
I am not white
I am not wrong
I am not right

I am now here
Not been before
My ancestors
Are here no more

I am not black
I am not white
I am not wrong
I am not right

Their spirit lives in every way
Always will unto this day
They are so proud and love their land
Traditional custodians will stand

I am not black
I am not white
I am not wrong
I am not right

We have so much to offer all
Generations past still call
This great land of ours abounds
Where harmony and peace are found

I am not black
I am not white
I am not wrong
I am not right

Proud and true is who we are
Some from here and some from far
Help each other the best we can
That makes us ALL Australian.

Source: Jens Korff, 2021. Australia Day – Invasion Day. [online] Creative Spirits. Available at: https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australia-day-invasion-day [Accessed 30 January 2022].

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Nitasha Akerman

Nitasha Akerman

I am working towards promoting human rights, peace, security, equality, feminism, justice, equity and sustainability. I enjoy anything creative and want to share my and other peoples thoughts and experiences through writing.