Australia Day: Day of Unification

  Day of uniting all races, ages, and cultures creating a national sense of pride.

Map of Country

Figure 1: Map of the country Australia and surrounding oceans (Lonely Planet)



Australia is a country that was established by the British in 1788. The freedom of the aboriginal people was quickly taken during this British establishment, ultimately creating great turmoil between the new settlers and the original people of this country. Still to this day, the aboriginal people view this British establishment as a conquest of their land and most importantly, of their freedom. Although this turmoil has seen a decline since 1788, tension still remains between these two distinct groups of people. The creation of Australia Day has been one of the greatest attempts to try and reconcile these differences between the people of this country. The creation of a national holiday is necessary to connect the people of its country. A society that stresses unity and harmony between its people is essentially good for the country


Additional Image 1   Additional Image 2

Figure 2: The celebration of Australia Day (Celebrate What's Great: Australia Day) Figure 3: Australian Aborigines (Meine Bank Reist durch die Welt )


The main objective of a national holiday is to promote unity and harmony within the country. By the creation of a national holiday such as Australia Day, the nation will come together once a year connecting every individual. With the ongoing tension between the aborigines (Figure 3) and the original British settlers, it is necessary to put great effort into trying to resolve any tension that may still exist, therefore creating a better nation. Australia Day is a celebration known nationwide and its popularity continues to incline. Once a year, Australians put a tremendous amount of effort into stressing their love and patriotism towards their country.


Context of Australia


The Island of Australia is located between the three oceans: Indian, Pacific, and Southern (Figure 1). It is the sixth largest country in the world, but it is the smallest continent. The climate of Australia is diverse because of the country's size. The Northern region has hot humid summers of a tropical climate, while the Southern region is dominated by a temperate climate with warm to hot summers and cold winters. The “outback” reputation of Australia is primarily due to the harsh conditions of the interior. Besides deserts, this country also has grasslands, areas of mountains and plateaus, and many beaches.

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip initiated the first prison colony on this isolated country. This was the first British establishment in Australia and it ultimately brought many mixed feeling to the original people of Australia , otherwise know as the Aborigines. A new nation was born, but the original people were displaced from their land.


Origins of Australia Day


The name of the celebration, Australia Day, is straight forward in its meaning. It's literally a day completely devoted to the celebration of the country. The earliest documentation of this celebration was in 1818 by Governor Macquarie. Macquarie arranged large meals for the civil and military leaders and celebrated afterwards with a ball (Australia Day Council Tasmania).



Some observable elements of this celebration are typical of national holidays. The students and workers are given a day off to completely devote their time to the celebration. Many will often see very exquisite parades and displays of fireworks. People will dress accordingly to this holiday with patriotic clothing and children will display their patriotism by face paintings. The flags' importance is stressed during this day and is displayed in many forms.



Additional Image 1Figure 4: The celebration of Australia Day (Celebrate What's Great: Australia Day)




Prognosis for Australia Day


Australians are still in a constant battle to try and resolve the differences between the British settlers and the aborigines. By stressing nationalism, in particular on Australia Day, the original settlers attempt to reconcile the tension between the two distinct groups. Older forms of nationalism were distinct in the respect that they excluded the aborigines. A newer form of nationalism puts forth great effort to try and recognize and respect the original people of the country (Moran 2004). With this increased effort to try and create harmony with the aborigines, the significance of Australia Day can only increase.



It is clear that Australia is moving forward in the process of uniting its people. Things still may not be ideal and there still may be aboriginal resentment towards the British, but with the celebration of Australia Day, the nation can only move progress in its efforts of nationwide harmony. With an increasing appearance of the new form of nationalism, the settlers are finally coming to terms with the aborigines by giving them the respect they deserve. Establishing these ties between different divisions not only creates unity between individuals, but most importantly, it creates unity throughout the nation.


Internet References Cited


Peer-Reviewed References Cited

  • 1) Turner, Victor, and Edith Turner                                                             1982   Religious Celebrations. In Celebration: Studies in Festivity and                     Ritual.  Victor Tuner, ed, pp. 201-219. Smithsonian Institution Press,              Washington.

  • 2) Dorson, Richard M.                                                                                1982   Material Components in Celebration. In Celebration: Studies in                      Festivity and Ritual. Victor Tuner, ed, pp. 33-57. Smithsonian Institution             Press, Washington.

  •  3) Fletcher, Felicia, Leonard, John, Meanjin.                                                1999   Rally Day at the Aboriginal Tent-Embassy. Vol 58, Issue 1.

  • 4) Heaven, Patrick C.L.; Rajab, Devi; Ray, John J.                                        1985    Racism and Ethnocentrism in Metropolitan Areas. Journal of Social                     Psychology; Vol. 125 Issue 2, p181.

  • 5) Moran, Anthony.                                                                                          6 November 2002 As Australia decolonize: indigenizing settler nationalism            and the challenges of settler/indigenous relations. Ethnic and Racial            Studies. Vol. 25. pp. 1013-1042.

  • 6) Hage                                                                                                          2003   Against Paranoid Nationalism: Searching for hope in a shrinking                      society. Annadale, Pluto Press, ISBN no. 1 86403 196 4. pp 174


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