Happy Australia Day …

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… to all my family and friends and readers in the great and beautiful “land down under.”

Australia Day marks the anniversary of the day, in 1788, when “Captain Arthur Phillip, commander of the First Fleet of eleven convict ships from Great Britain, and the first Governor of New South Wales, arrived at Sydney Cove on 26 January and raised the Union Jack to signal the beginning of the colony.

Today, the Australians tell us, “On Australia Day we celebrate all the things we love about Australia: land, sense of fair go, lifestyle, democracy, the freedoms we enjoy but particularly our people …. [and] … Australia Day is about acknowledging and celebrating the contribution that every Australian makes to our contemporary and dynamic nation. From our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people  – who have been here for more than 65,000 years – to those who have lived here for generations, to those who have come from all corners of the globe to call our country home.

Australians, like Americans and Canadians, must grapple with the fact that in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries people, mostly Brits from a (then) modern, even industrializing, society migrated, unwelcomed by the locals, to vast, but already populated, “new” lands and created colonies. We cannot turn back the clock, but we can, as Australians and Canadians try to do, seek to reconcile our common, colonial past.

Boer-War-photo-2Australians and Canadians have fought, bravely, side-by-side for over 100 years, since the Boer War  ~ it’s a bit hard to tell us apart, isn’t it? Those are Aussies on south_africa-19820205-003the left and Canucks on the right ~ and as late as in Afghanistan.

We, Canadians, salute our Aussie friends. Have a great Australia Day, mates!

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