CHANGING THE DATE: Bill Sargent reflects on a proposed day Australians can celebrate the founding of their nation.
CHANGING THE DATE: Bill Sargent reflects on a proposed day Australians can celebrate the founding of their nation. Ali Kuchel

Know the facts: Reflection on Oz Day debate

LETTER:

I READ with interest your survey of Fraser Coast residents regarding the date of Australia Day (FCC 21/08/17) and the decision of some councils to hold their events on another day, and thought I would have my Aussie two bob's worth.

Firstly some facts.

The First Fleet of convicts landed at Botany Bay on January 18, 1788 and the site was found unsuitable.

Governor Phillip sailed to Port Jackson on January 21 and the movement of ships from Botany Bay to Sydney Cove began on January 26, the date that Australian states in 1994 decided would be our national public holiday.

The arguments to change the date of Australia Day on the grounds of respect towards our indigenous people, I believe has merit.

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For 113 years after the landing of our convicts at Sydney Cove, Australia was not a nation but a collection of colonies with their own constitutions, taxes, militaries, railway gauges, custom houses, stamps... it goes on.

Australia at that time was not a nation but a continent.

Of course, we federated in 1901 and the states handed many of those responsibilities over to the Federal Government.

It was at this time that Australia became a nation as well as a continent.

Our own Australian Government website tells us: The birth of our nation is often referred to as 'federation'.

This is because the Constitution created a 'federal' system of government.

Celebrating Australia Day is a good idea but I feel January 19 would be a more appropriate date as it has a connection to the founding of Australia in 1901 (19.01).

January 26 certainly has significance, but not if it is used to celebrate Australia Day.

BILL SARGENT,

Torbanlea



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