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This is a day of great significance to us as a people and as a nation. There is much discussion about both the date, and what it is actually meant to celebrate. The position that people hold is based on a certain understanding of the purpose of the day. For some it is seen as a celebration of the arrival of the first fleet, for others it is seen as ‘invasion day’. Yet even if people hold one or other position, what must be acknowledged is that what we refer to as Australia Day today, is not linked to either position. Australia Day, as Australia Day, was first celebrated on the 30th of July, 1915, and it came about through the efforts of a woman, Mrs Ellen Wharton-Kirke, who “saw an ‘Australia Day’ as a way of drawing on the pride of Australians in their recent achievements at Gallipoli”. She saw it as a way to raise funds to support our serving men and women. It was held again in 1916 and 1917. So the perceived nexus between the first landing, on the 26th of January and Australia Day is incorrect. This allows for a discussion on how we might best as a nation call on all our people to unite, rejoice and continue to build our nation on a date which best allows us to do this. (Source: This was pilfered from Fr Ian’s blurb in the Dunsborough Bulletin. As I was unaware of the original intent of the day, I thought some others might also find it of interest.)


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