January 26th is Australia Day, which commemorates the arrival of the first fleet in Sydney in 1778 and the beginning of the colony. Celebrating Australia’s birthday on this date has become controversial, however, because the nation’s first peoples see it as Invasion Day. There have been calls to change Australia Day to another date out of respect for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. So far Australia Day remains a public holiday and a day to celebrate our diverse culture.
I Am A Kiwi Aussie
Even though it is not politically correct, I still enjoy celebrating Australia Day. I am proud to call myself Australian, and love my adopted country. I was born and raised in New Zealand and came to Australia when I was 19, in 1986. New Zealand is as much a part of me as Australia. My sons think of themselves as Kiwi Australians because they had frequent holidays to New Zealand with me.
There has always been a bit of rivalry between Kiwis and Aussies. The beginning of this video by actor Sam Neill explains it with a humorous twist:
Australia, My Adopted Home
My sister and I came to Australia as two naive teenagers, and set out on the big Aussie adventure, backpacking on a working holiday. We started off in South Australia, picking grapes at a vineyard and packing dried fruit at an apricot factory. My poor mother struggled with the sudden loss of her daughters, so much that my parents emigrated the following year. One brother then the other eventually moved here as well.
Three of us married Aussies. I decided to make it official and became an Australian citizen after my first son was born. My dad, who was a widower by then, became a citizen at the same time. The law changed over time, and now it is much harder to become an Australian citizen. One of my brothers had to go through a very lengthy process because he had returned to New Zealand to live for five years. He proudly became a citizen on Australia Day 2020.
Celebrating Australia Day
We will celebrate with my husband’s family the way we usually do: with a barbeque, a dip in the pool, and a few beers. We’ll try not to get sunburnt, and avoid the crowded beaches that are the favoured place to celebrate Australia Day. This year’s celebrations will be much more subdued because of Covid-19, but we’ll fly our Aussie flag and get into the spirit of day by listening to some Oz Rock.
Happy Australia Day!
You may also enjoy:
- Why Anzac Day Means So Much to Me
- Our Own Shameful Statistics on Black Deaths in Custody
- Letter to Myself, Aged 17
Shared on Life This Week Linkup on Denyse Whelan’s Blog