This is the Dreaming land, the land of spirit ancestors, Of campfire and corroboree, of rock art and cave painting... ©RAF 26.01.2007
On Janurary 26th 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Port Jackson, a name that thankfully got changed pretty quickly to Sydney! After months at sea my bet is that everyone on board those ships was grateful to see land, any land, even unknown land. They could hardly be expecting what they got though. Sydney in Janurary heat garbed as the 18th centurary liked to garb itself makes me wilt just thinking about it.
America's colonies were founded for religious & high falutin' reasons. Australia was founded as a jail, the best sort of jail, a long, long way from everywhere else; out of sight & for the most part, out of mind. Here's where the starving landed after being caught stealing a loaf of bread. How a so called Christian nation could so forget the basic tenets of its faith so as to take no proper regard for its poor boggles my poor little mind though it does highlight those who were truely marked with Christ's spirit ~ Elizabeth Fry, Quaker reformer for one, who was so distressed by the felon ships sitting for months in the Thames that she extended her ministry to the poor souls aboard waiting to be transported to the ends of the earth.
Having sent the convicted out here Britain failed miserably to do her research & by desperate trial & error the newcomers learnt that English farming methods did not work too well in this new land, that the seasons were topsy~turvy, that the rain could not be relied upon to fall when it should & that grazing kangaroos can mow down a growing wheat crop pretty fast ~ certainly faster than it took to grow it in the first place. The whole colony, jailers & jailed alike, very nearly starved to death before they got it worked out.
It was not an auspicious start in any way but eventually Australia decided it no longer wanted to be the dumping ground for everyone the Empire did not want. Free settlers began arriving & the things any emerging nation does began happening. The mad packed supplies & began exploring & mapping the unknown territory. Lots perished when they discovered there is a very big desert in the middle of Australia! The innovative looked for ways to make money. John MacArthur bred sheep whose wool was the best ever. He was rather a pain in the proverbial but he certainly understood sheep ~ or at least knew those who did. The greedy panned for gold.
In the too~ing & fro~ing that has since ensured between the immigrants & the lands they originated from, Australians discovered they were indeed *the Lucky Country* ~ blessed beyond measure, unique upon the face of the earth. Where else can you find hopping marsupials, egg laying mammals & birds that screech like banshees? There was never any need to make much of a song & a dance about it. Australians took it for granted that there was no better place on the face of the earth & Australia Day, squashed as it is in between Christmas & the end of the long school summer vacation, was pretty much overlooked. Recently more of a fuss seems to be being made. I'm not sure why.
So yesterday we ate scones & drank billy tea [ok, I omitted the tea drinking; I can't stand tea], ate damper & BBQ, watched the canoe racing, the thong throwing[ the other sort of thongs, remember?],watched the toad races & competed in the Australian Trivia competition ~ all good fun but in the end having a National day makes squat difference to how I feel about my country, how I feel about being Australian or what I believe as a consequence. Good excuse for a party about sums it up & there are plenty of things that should matter more.