Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day

A country that's never had a war on it's home soil.
A country that was never invaded by foreign forces.
A country that was not borne out of violent conflict.
A country that was founded as a colony.

On 13 May 1787, a fleet of 11 ships, which came to be known as the First Fleet, was sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia. Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet sought to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay on the coast of New South Wales, which had been explored by Captain James Cook in 1770. The settlement was seen as necessary because of the loss of the colonies in North America. Captain Phillip found Botany Bay unsuitable and with two boats proceeded a short distance northwards to Port Jackson, which he declared "the finest harbour in the world".

Australia has been the refuge of immigrants from all over the world. Still is. My parents were refugees from the troubles in Egypt caused by nationalism of Nasser. My wife is a refugee from a communist state of Slovakia. She left by deception and at the cost of leaving her daughter behind.
Yet, there are core values that we consider to be part of our culture.
An egalitarianism that has been known to be disdainful of authority. Australian soldiers during WW1 were known for their insolence and insubordination.
It is also an Australian characteristic to feel contempt for high achievers. I suppose it is part of our egalitarianism. Unlike India for example, we have no cast system. And unlike our mother country, the United Kingdom we do not have a class system.
There is freedom of speech although it isn't enshrined in our constitution like America, it is something we all take for granted.
Australia is a country that is addicted to sport. In this aspect, I am an outsider but I don't mind.
Better a country addicted to sport than say, a country that is obsessed with suppressing the rights of women. In fact, Australia was the first country to give women the vote.

Unlike most other first generation Australians, I do not label myself with the nationality of my parents.
I am a proud Australian.


Jeannie said...

I would never have guessed your family hadn't been there for generations.

Happy Australia Day!

Anonymous said...


Lexcen said...

We're having a barbie(Q).

Anonymous said...

Ahhhh, a meat sacrifice to the gods. I think I'll perform a libation w/a mega can of Fosters in honor of the occassion...

Anonymous said...

Wow. This is one LONG day. I think I need another Fosters...

Michael said...

I hope you enjoyed your Australia Day!

You know, I never met an Aussie that I didn't like....

Lexcen said...

Michael, where have you been?