People act in two different ways on January 26th in Australia. Some celebrate the date with their friends and families, while others not only mourn, but also walk the streets in protest. Do you, however, know anything about why it is this way and why Australia is so divided? If not, then it’s about time you learned a few things to attempts to solve it. If nothing else, this will at least help you decide which side you are on, although the best possible scenario would be for both of those sides to unite in a mutual agreement.
Yet, according to this source, that is actually nowhere near to happening and the debate actually seems to be getting more and more heated year after year. It’s time to take a look at why January 26th is so controversial and why is it that huge numbers of people are actually feeling the need to protest this date as the day of the nation. So, settle in and keep on reading, because you’re about to get a history lesson for things tp attempts to solve It.
What Happened On January 26th 1788?
As you can see, in order to really understand the whole controversial nature of the date, we’ll need to go far back in time. In other words, you’ll need to understand what it is that actually happened over two centuries ago on this particular date. That might seem like a long time ago, but here’s the thing. This date in 1788 actually marks the beginning of a very long period of certain events that were definitely not well received by a large amount of Australian people.
Let us not, however, get ahead of ourselves. In order to really understand the nature of the years that ensued after this date, you’ll need to know what happened on that particular day. I’m sure that you have already heard about it, but I will make it perfectly clear anyway. On January 26th in 1788, ships from Great Britain arrived in New South Wales, where the Governor Arthur raised the British flag in order to mark the land as another British colony. Or, better yet, in order to mark the beginning of the colonization.
This particular event is now known as the coming of the First Fleet. Ever since then, January 26th has been marked as the First Landing Day, the Anniversary Day, or the Foundation Day. Of course, later on, it began being celebrated as Australian Day, which certainly led to a lot of contradicting opinions, and for good reasons. In case you don’t understand those reasons, I suggest you keep on reading. I’m sure that they will quickly be perfectly obvious.
If you’d like to know how the whole controversy evolved, here’s what you should read: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-42798864
Why Was 1788 Both Good And Bad?
There are two sides to every story and this one is not an exception to that rule. If you asked the men on the ships that arrived from Britain to Australia that day, they would have told you that this was a great victory for them. After all, they were coming to claim the land to themselves and they were about to succeed in doing that. Of course, some further actions needed to be taken and those were the exact actions that were seen as necessary by some and as hostile by others.
I am talking about the whole colonization process and if you are wondering what was so hostile about it, do me a favor and picture this. Imagine you were living on this land before the British arrived and decided to claim it for themselves. You would have probably not been willing to give everything away so easily, just like the Indigenous people weren’t. That’s why colonization turned into a brutal and oppressive process. Indigenous people were actually oppressed for a long time after this particular date.
What Does It Have To Do With The 21st Century?
As you can see, there are two very different points of view regarding the actual arrival of the First Fleet. The bottom line is that these contradicting views actually persist up until now. So, while some Australians can celebrate January 26th as the actual day of the nation, others can do nothing but mourn over the tragic destiny that their people had to endure and go through during all those years after the First Fleet arrived.
This is exactly why you have those contradicting stances even today. All the Indigenous individuals and a large number of non-Indigenous individuals who want to show support actually call January 26th the Day of Mourning. They can’t side with those Australians who are willing to celebrate this date as if nothing horrible happened to Aboriginals upon the British decided to plant their flag in this land.
Are There Any Solutions?
While a large number of people are very much insisting on pushing the date of the celebration, the Australian Day is still celebrated on January 26th. It was thought that pushing the date would solve all of these problems and stop dividing people, but it appears that the Attempts To Solve It so have actually done nothing else but succeeded in dividing Australia even more. Why is this so, you are probably wondering?
Well, even though a lot of people are devoted to trying to change that date, we cannot forget that there are also a lot of people devoted to trying to keep it as is. This is leading towards a divided nation and the division is mostly visible during those few months prior to the celebration and, of course, in January itself. Given those contradicting opinions, the solution has still not been found.
It’s difficult to say whether actually pushing the date would be a good idea or not. People appear to have strong arguments both for and against it. In any case, my hope is for Australians to finally get united in one way or another, because that’s the attempts to solve It that they can go forward.