I recently posted a photo of a silver wattle on our Blue Mountains Community Facebook page. At the time I suggested that Wattle Day, now held on September 1, might be the answer to the vexed question of celebrating Australia Day on January 26. An increasing number of Australians, myself included, feel very uncomfortable about commemorating what to our First People was quite simply ‘Invasion Day’.
It is also worth remembering that many of the migrants who have made their home in this beautiful country over the years must feel little connection to the date of January 26 1788. The British flag was raised that day on what was intended to be nothing more than a penal settlement; an exercise in clearing overcrowded prisons. Today, nearly 200 nations are represented in our culturally diverse community.
PUTTING THE CASE FOR THE WATTLE
The golden wattle, Acacia pycnantha shown in the image below is already our national floral emblem. Why not extend the symbolism a step further?
Spring represents hope and renewal, so needed in our nation right now and in the forseeable future.
The month of September is a beautiful time of year. The heat of summer and the threat of bush fires are long past, and the bitter cold of winter has eased, even in my beloved Blue Mountains.
But above all, the date would be so much more inclusive. The First Australians had, and continue to have, such a spiritual connection to nature. Of course the change would be just one step in addressing the injustices that still exist. Many more measures need to be taken, both symbolic and practical.
Back in 2017 I wrote o blog post on the subject of Australia Day. The Black Lives Matter movement has only intensified the feelings I expressed in the piece, titled, I THOUGHT I WAS ONLY LEFT-HANDED.
In the meantime we can help raise the profile of Wattle Day. It actually has a much longer history than the January 26 celebration of Australia Day which is relatively recent.
Please share if you support the idea of adopting September 1 as a more inclusive Australia Day.
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