I am a little embarrassed to say I’ve had a couple of weeks focusing only on family….not because of the family side, that was brilliant but that I have no doubt missed a few things happening around town that I might have wanted to see, chat about or share. That said tomorrow is another day and we’re only a couple of days away from Australia Day, a big day out on Liverpool’s calendar. Council meetings don’t commence until February and school returns just after Aus Day.
The local papers have put forward the chart of events at the Australia day event, and as much as I enjoy/relish the opportunity for Liverpool to get together in a pleasant way, it’s also timely to discuss how the day itself came about.
You see, we celebrate the English invasion of Terra Australis, at no time were they invited, nor did they seek to share the colony they chose to invade, to put it in a Today context, how different would it be if it were to happen today just as it did in 1788…. today however with a better access to information, generally more weapons, those things aside is there really that much different. The Indigenous owners of the land were forced, beaten and in Tassie eradicated, so the English could create a penal colony.
In our local group we begin our meetings by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Cabrogal clan of the Dharug nation, we also pay our respects to the more recent non indigenous elders who came here to work and live in harmony with the traditional owners, however nothing removes the fact that at no time did the traditional owners of this land give up willingly the rights our forebears took from them.
Sovereignty was never ceded, there has never been a treaty, and the injustice of colonisation continues to this day.
This land has and always will be Aboriginal land.
I also take heart in that when an Elder welcomes us to their land they do so with open heart and gentle ways. One of my particular favourite welcomes was when in Picton some time ago when Aunty Francis Bodkin welcomed us in her language and spoke of the land. (Translated of course) I have a couple of her books and I must admit they are brilliant, she shares how this land matters, how it lives within us and the everyday things we take for granted (ie Parramatta) and how and where the names come from. We are also very lucky in Liverpool to have Uncle Steve Williams, last years Australia day honours recipient.
Please take a little time this weekend, to enjoy the majesty this country brings, our impact on it and those who came before us but mostly spend a few minutes thinking of ways we 200 + year Newer Australians can make things fairer for the traditional Australians as we tread their land.
This is not a sermon, just my ponderings and a gentle reminder that things in Australia were not always, kind, friendly or thoughtful. We talk often about the injustices happening around the world, and there are many, but there are quite a few right here we need to address and Australia day is a perfect place to start. Then of course we can move onto some politicians in NSW government trying to dictate what a woman can do with her own body, how we treat the ill and dying, what govts are allowing to happen in the pursuit of the almighty dollar (fracking comes immediately to mind) but for today let’s focus and enjoy the treasures this land has and remember, its not always been wine and roses…but it could be.
ps… looks like LCC decided to wait until after the holidays to put some things on exhibition, keep an eye out for these in coming weeks…nice to see they listened to the community. 🙂