Many of our First Nation people see it as invasion day, and that is exactly what it was. Britain invaded Australia, displaced the local population, gave them terrible diseases that killed them, at times massacred local populations and took sexual advantage of them. They took away Aboriginal hunting grounds to turn them into farms. There was mass poisoning of Aborigines. In South Australia, quite a number were driven off a cliff to die on rocks or in the sea below. Well into the twentieth century, crudely put, half casts were removed from their mothers to have a 'better life', mostly educated in Christian ways at missions. Funnily they went on to be the best spokespeople with their excellent English language education, but many were treated cruelly, forced into domestic service and women regularly raped.
The original owners of our land were treated appalling. Is the day when white man arrived en masse to commit terrible crimes against the local population a day to celebrate?
That is history. It was not my doing and I have no responsibility for what happened. This is my country now, no matter how that came to be. My family on both sides has been here by free will since the 1840s. I am not sure how my Swiss Italian forebears managed to afford to come here from their impoverished subsistence village.
My Tradie Brother posted a photo of Dog and a koala of some kind in an Australian flag costume on FB with the comment, Australia Day 26th jan other wise piss off
I gently argued with him twice on the phone that the day had become so divisive, the date needed to change. He is not for changing.
What first made me alert and alarmed was when I heard the publican of the Torquay Hotel, who owns a couple of other pubs, decided to go low key on Australia Day after being approached by a couple of his Aboriginal staff. They did not issue an ultimatum, just asked and mentioned their discomfort if there was an overt celebration. He respectfully saw their point of view, to many approvals and many disapprovals.
Then the Australia Day multicultural parade was cancelled, and just as well given what happened.
We trammed to St Kilda for brunch in the morning and I noted via Twitter there was a demo in the city and tram services were disrupted. That would normally be perhaps a one to to one and half hour disruption. No sign of Australia Day in Acland Street but earlier there had been a large mourning ceremony.
Little did I dream that the disruption would go on until 2.30 when I caught the tram to see the RACV old and classic car display at the Kings Domain. I looked online before I went but information was not clear about the car show. The tram system was in such a mess, even I did not know how I could get to Kings Domain, but with more arse than class, I did get close by, only to find the car display wasn't happening.
I revisited the 'dangerous children's park' (more on that later) and I managed to find my way home.
People displaying the Aussie flag on their cars, with flags bracketed to windows? Not to be seen this year.
Household Management decided it was Australian to go out for a pub meal that night and we trammed to the Malvern Vale Hotel and had some nice tucker. The pub's Australia Day effort was a couple of metres of Aussie flag bunting below a shelf and a flag in the decked dining area. I lost ten dollars on the machines and R won ten dollars. My argument that I has subsidised his win and he owed my $5 went unacknowledged.
The well turned out woman next to me on her machine wished me Happy Australia Day and then over explained about how her children were 'woke' and did not celebrate the day. She was one for keeping the day as it is. It is not in my nature to be confrontational and I kept my gob shut.
And all this happened in Sydney too, with central city tram services suspended because of protest marches. In every Australian capital city, there were protest marches. It was so ugly in Melbourne with neo Nazis and white supremacists confronting the protestors.
I never want to experience another Australia Day like this one.