It’s Australia Day and it’s raining. A lot. The party is not happening anywhere. In fact, I am “flooded in”. The roads are under water and will be so for a few days. I have never seen rain like this in my life. More on that in a few days time.
Meanwhile, I live on a hill and we have a boat, so we’re waiting it out. And speaking of boats, I’ve been reading up on why today is called Australia Day. The media is all over this historic day and the vultures are out to spin their coins and votes on the Aussie myth of multiculturalism.
Yet it’s hard to ignore that today is the anniversary of the violent occupation of a whole continent inhabited by real people with an ancient history and wisdom.
225 years ago yesterday, a certain Captain Arthur Phillip and a few dozen soldiers, rowed ashore in Sydney Cove and took possession of Australia in the name of the English King George III. Australia’s very first boat people had arrived on the First Fleet and they started a prison as the first thing.
They had come on a fleet of 11 ships sent by the British Admiralty, carrying nearly 1500 people, of which approximately half were convicts. For 252 days they had been traveling more than 24,000 km, losing almost 50 lives en route. More