Did the arrival of the first fleet make this great country of ours? Why do we celebrate our national day on such a controversial date? After all, it's a relatively new phenomenon. It only started in 1994.
More recently, ugly events such as the Cronulla Race Riots have muddied my view of patriotism. As has this countries disgraceful stance on illegal immigrants. Quite frankly I'm a little ashamed to be Australian when it comes to these two issues, but that is for another post.
My question is then, can we celebrate our national day without showing disrespect for Australia's indigenous people?
We chose to BBQ. I'm really pleased we did, as we had a fantastic day. A day which represented some of the great things about Australia. Even if Mr TBT did don his traditional Australia Day outfit.
Thankfully he only wears it once a year. Excepting Olympic years.
As I was rolling the lamb kofta, making the salads (lentil & feta, warm potato, Tuscan bean and cous cous) I did ponder the indigenous community, and what Australia Day means to them. Ill be honest, I don't have any answers. But I thought about it. I thought about how horrifying some of the experiences must have been. I paid my respects.
I also thought about all the new citizens who became official Australians on that day. I find this really exciting, thinking about the great diverse range of people who can now call themselves Ozzies, and pondering the great (positive) impacts and influences they might have on our society. I also thought about the members of our communities who are already making amazing contributions, and whom may have been recognised on the Australia Day honours list. This always makes me think of my grand father in law who has an OAM for his service to his community, and of my dear friend who has an AM for her service to agriculture. There are some fantastic people in this world and Australia Day is one of the times you hear those feel good stories.
Being a family with four children, most of the guests were children. As we looked around we saw children with incredibly diverse backgrounds. Children with Dutch, Saudi, Algerian, Flemish, Turkish, Burmese, Danish, Ukrainian and German heritage. We had also invited families with French, Indonesian, Chinese, American and Indian backgrounds, who were unable to come. I think we had all major religions covered on the guest list too. All playing, completely oblivious to world politics or religious tension.
We had most professions covered too. Doctors, hospitality workers, allied health professionals, tradesmen, teachers, realestate agents, disability support workers, small business owners, naturopaths, accountants and more were invited....all of whom play an important part in Australian society as we know it today. While the children were playing, the grown ups had some ripper conversations and debates.
But most importantly we had good food and good friendship. Which to me, is a perfect way to spend a beautiful summer day. Which happened to be the 26th January.
Ps. It wasn't a real Australia Day BBQ. We didn't have a pav in sight. But we did have some rather patriotic jelly.
Oh, and I made my first slice. (Would you believe?). I've become an old hand at baking, but this was my first slice. Peppermint Chocolate slice. What do you think?