26 January is Australia Day, which signifies the day that the British arrived at Sydney Cove, where Captain Arthur Phillip hoisted the first flag to symbolize colonization. The British Fleet, filled with convicts and British soldiers, were met by the indigenous, Aboriginal clans who have lived and survived off of the barren land for thousands of years. For many, Australia Day is celebrated as the start of a new colony and welcomes new citizens’ arrival, but for others, it is renamed as Invasion Day, because when the British arrived, the Aboriginal people were struggling to survive.
Many know 26 January as Australia Day. It is celebrated by welcoming new citizens in the country and honoring those in service. There are parades, fireworks, barbecues, and the like. A National Australia Day Council states that Australia Day is a day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation…a day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for generations to come.
Others view January 26 as Survival or Invasion Day, and it was not celebrated like that until 1992. Concerts are held in places of Aboriginal significance like La Perouse or Redfern. This day is celebrated through traditional Aboriginal music, dancing, arts and crafts, and of course food. Survival Day expresses the strength of Aboriginal culture, and shows that it is still going strong today.
We celebrated Australia day by going to Gordon’s Bay, which is a small private rock beach in between Coogee beach and Bondi Beach. We packed our own lunches and swam in the water for almost the entire day. After getting home and showering from the beach, we went to Circular Quay, which is where the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Sydney Opera House are located to eat dinner and then watch the fireworks over the harbor. Throughout the harbor, people where giving out Australian flags in celebration, and there were so many people singing and enjoying the day. While the fireworks were going off, the Australian National Anthem was playing in the background!