What Does Australia Day Mean To You?

Photo credit – Cairns Post

How Australian am I?

I was born in Sydeney, raised mostly in south east Qld and have lived the majority of my adult life in the little city (okay, big town) of Gympie.

I’ve had members of my family fight for this country in wars and die from injuries they received. I’m related to people who have represented this country in sporting events and others who work behind the scenes keeping the wheels of government slowly turning.

Growing up on the Goldie, I’ve supported our vets on Anzac Day while at school and, despite not having the sport gene, have woken up at stupid o’clock to watch the Socceroos compete in the World Cup.

So what does Australia Day mean to me?

A day off.

Or at least it used to before I became a SAHD. Now it’s just a weekday the kids are home with me.

There’s a call at the moment for moving Australia Day away from the 26th of January and today I took the time, between beers, to read what it’s all about, and you know what? I don’t think it’s without merit. So much so I signed the online petition.

Not only did I sign the online petition (AVAAZ.ORG – Community Petitions) but I shared on my personal Facebook.

Immediately, I was labeled un-Australian.

I don’t get it. Why is it un-Australian to question things? Especially something like this which, unlike Anzac Day, or a minute’s silence at 11am on the 11th of the 11th, really doesn’t have much meaning to many people beyond a barbie and a couple of coldies to ward off the heat. After all, we’re not celebrating people who have laid down their lives for their loved ones.

Only we sort of are.

This is a date which marks something very dire and negative for a sizeable portion of our population – our Australian Aboriginal descendants. This date marks a moment in history when their way of life would forever change and their connection to this continent would, for a long time, be trivialised and dismissed. A date when their ancestors would be hunted for trying to hold onto their own land and defend their families.

Let’s think about that for a minute. What if most of the people around you – your workmates, neighbours & friends – were celebrating the death of your ancestors and putting a positive spin on things? Do you think you’d be a little upset about that?

No? Take another minute. Some people take longer to process things.

I sure-as-hops-makes-beer-better would.

And most people would agree they would too, otherwise you wouldn’t see people getting so upset when others don’t ‘get’ Anzac Day, or don’t take that minute on Remembrance Day to think about the poor sods who died under the assumption they were defending their families.

We all have respect for those we’ve lost in battles, and I’ve no doubt the Aboriginal community feels very much the same.

Why celebrate something on a date which, instead of making us feel a pride in our community, the more I think about it glorifies something to associate more with a national shame? Why not consider moving Australia Day to January 1st, the date the people of this country came together and decided to create the nation of Australia? Or maybe some neutral date which doesn’t have such a negative connotation or interfere with an already well established day off work?

Why not have a discussion about changing the date?

Surely all Australians, indigenous and newly arrived (in the grand scheme of things), could get behind that. After all, nothing defines this country more than supporting your mates.

Anything else would be downright un-Australian.

What do you think?

I’m all for a new anthem while we’re at it. Waltzing Matilda? That’d be okay, but since we’re drinking how about Cheap Wine? Or if we have to stick to the lyrics, Adam Hill’s suggestion above.


‘Prior to 1888, 26 January was very much a New South Wales affair, as each of the colonies had their own commemorations for their founding. In Tasmania, Regatta Day occurred in December, South Australia had Proclamation Day 28 December, and Western Australia had their own Foundation Day on 1 June.

In 1888, all colonial capitals except Adelaide celebrated ‘Anniversary Day’. In 1910, South Australia adopted Australia Day followed by Victoria in 1931. By 1935, all states of Australia were celebrating 26 January as Australia Day (although it was still known as Anniversary Day in New South Wales). The name ‘Foundation Day’ persisted in local usage.’ Source, Wikipedia

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“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”


  • I haven’t actually heard much about this, but I can definately see your point!
    On a lighter note, is anybody else slightly annoyed at the fact that the shops are open on a supposedly ‘public holiday’?

  • Had a great Australia Day at a family BBQ. Thought I’d be lazy and cook some Aussie French toast for dinner while reading your Blog and catching up on the Devereaux news. I’m a clever woman, I multi task all the time. Had a good laugh at the Devereaux’s then thought I should return the smile. We are all eating burnt French toast. Turns out multi tasking after a big lazy Australia Day doesn’t work.

  • Thank you, couldn’t have said it better myself. I always feel confused on this day because, like most Australians, I enjoy a cold drink and a BBQ with some backyard cricket and friends. But at the same time I have indigenous friends who find this day so hard that, I feel guilty almost for enjoying myself. Then you have other indigenous people making the most of the day and celebrating alongside us. No idea how to feel really.

  • Oh, it gets better. Got sunburnt playing cricket at Australia Day family BBQ wearing Aus tattoo on my forehead. So yep, now have a white rectangle on my red forehead!
    All happily eating mango for dessert so burnt French toast totally forgotten, well at least forgive’n.

  • I tend to agree Bruce. If we want an Australia Day, which I certainly do, I think it should be a day where all Australians can join together to celebrate. Don’t care when it is as long as it is a school day! And yes I am a teacher!

  • What we should do is become a republic, on a different day, but still preferably in summer so we can have our day off in the sun. A new Australia Day for a new nation! Then the old Australia Day could be more like Remembrance Day and we could have a minute silence to remember those fallen, or a dawn service like ANZAC Day. We shouldn’t ditch the day altogether, but it should be more solemn. I don’t mind the anthem, but we could definitely get a better flag.

  • Hi Bruce, the most Aussie of names, or so a large part of Great Britain believe! I have long thought that our true coming together date is the date in March 1967 when the constitution was amended by the GB parliament to enable final full participation for all Australians by enabling indigenous Australians to be counted in our census, etc. This, for me, marks the formation of our nation. Sadly, it occurs in a month chockablock with Easter some years. But at least it isn’t New Year’s Day …. that would bring howls of protest at the loss of a public holiday!

  • I can see the point – but what about for people whom Australia Day means a lot to them – does it suddenly become unimportant for me??

    I became an Australian Citizen on Australia Day – two years ago after living here for 21 years. I owe a lot to this country, for my education, for the opportunities and for my husband and our new little Aussie who is due in June.

    I don’t believe that we should change the day, and I don’t think we should have to keep apologising for the wrongs done by those before us, but I do believe we should do more towards acknowledgement….. Australia Day should be about acknowledging our history and the countries traditional land owners, welcoming our new Australians and planning for a better Australia in the future.

    I will remain proud that I became an Australian on Australia day – that is what is important to me!

    • I notice you said you became an Australian Citizen on Australia Day, not the 26th of January. It would still be a day to celebrate that, no matter what the date is. I’m actually liking the idea of moving it back one day to the 25th. Same weather, same need for beer to cool down, but without the upsetting baggage of the 26th.

  • I cannot celebrate on a day of mourning for so many of my friends and agree we should change the date, but I don’t think Jan 1 is it. Jan 1 is already associated with so much else, and let’s be honest, for many it’s just a hangover day. Which means our new national day would become Hair of the Dog day.

  • Love this comment by Danyse from the FB post link :

    Questioning is always good. We improve our ways and see things from different perspectives. There are valid arguments on both sides. I personally have never been asked or thought about it before but now after a brief consideration and taking in to account that Australia Day should be a day for EVERY Australian to celebrate. That this date has changed before fuels the ability for it to be changed again.
    I have decided that I would not object to a date change.
    Bruce I agree the 25th would work! The indigenous still had their traditional ancient way of life and the English were just about to land after a long journey. A happy day for all best spent with mates and a coldie or 3!

  • Exactly. Australia is not full of the stereotypical bogans that we are sometimes portrayed to be. As a country of thinking, retrospective people, why wouldn’t we just change the day (without debate – you can have sausages and beer any day of the week!) and acknowledge that the 26th celebration was born out of times when people perhaps didn’t recognise the negative implications of the date. We do now – so we make it a day that everyone can recognise. Or alternatively make it like Easter – where we are essentially recognising a terrible event for Christians, followed by a fantastic event- all over a 4 day period! We could hold memorials and recognition on day 1, an indigenous celebration on day 2, a multicultural day on day 3, then the barbie and beer on day 4.

What do you think?

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