Advance Australia Fair*
It’s Australia Day this Saturday – 26 January every year. We’re all pretty rapt that we get a public holiday on Monday, given that Australia Day falls on a Saturday this year. The day commemorates the date that the First Fleet sailed into Port Jackson (part of Sydney Harbour) in 1788 – eleven small ships that had travelled for 6 months from Portsmouth, England to create the colony of New South Wales. On six of those eleven ships travelled 780 convicts, on whose backs and hard labour would be built the colony.
So yes, a big day in our history and something worth celebrating – we are blessed to live in this country and enjoy the lifestyle and privileges that we do. However, Australia Day has a very different connotation for our indigenous Aboriginal population for whom it symbolises Invasion Day and the mistreatment of their society and culture for over two hundred years. We are still trying to right the wrongs done to our indigenous people, who remain amongst the most disadvantaged Australian citizens.
One indigenous Australian who has come to global attention in the past few years is Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. He is a blind singer songwriter from a small island off the coast of the Northern Territory. He sings in his native Yolngu language and apparently has very few words of English. His voice is other-worldly and haunting, and I wanted to share this beautiful song of his with you to mark Australia Day 2013. May this year and those following bring us closer to atoning for our past actions and becoming a more inclusive, caring society for all Australians.
*title of the Australian national anthem.