#6 We are Australian: The Seekers : 1987
I never know which song I am going to write about next. As with most things in my life I think about if for a while and toss a few ideas and possibilities about and then inspiration arrives.
It is January 26th and in Australia that is Australia Day. This means we have a public holiday, name our Australian of the Year (for 2022 it is Dylan Alcott) and hand out the Australia Day Honours and Awards. ‘Luckiest guy in this country’: Dylan Alcott is Australian of the Year You can read about this most deserving individual in the link provided.
When I was a youngster Australia Day was held on the Monday closest to January 26th; there was a long weekend and on the day following Australia Day the new school year began. Since moving the public holiday to the 26th folks don’t always get one of those long week ends Aussies love so much every year, but never-the-less Australia Day signifies that the Summer break has definitely come to an end.
Australia Day has a rather long and often misunderstood history. The first Australia Day was in 1915, it was held in July, it was in response to WW1 and the idea was to stir up National patriotism and raise money for wounded soldiers. After this different states celebrated at different dates using different names; names such as Foundation Day, Anniversary Day, Proclamation Day are some examples. It was not until 1935 that all states of Australia were recognizing 26th January but even then not all states were calling the day Australia Day. And as stated earlier, the public holiday was always on a Monday to make a long week end; it was not until 1994 that all states recognized the date of 26th of January, regardless of the day, on which Australia Day would be held.
And yet there is still much confusion, according to Nick Carter, a columnist with The Australian newspaper; Twenty-six per cent believe it to be the anniversary of the establishment of Federation, while 20 per cent think it marks the discovery of Australia by James Cook. Only 39 per cent correctly identified Australia Day as the date of the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788. NICK CATER COLUMNISTNick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre and a columnist with The Australian. He is a former editor of The Weekend Australian and a former deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph.
Each year as Australia Day looms so do the debates about changing the date, changing the name, changing the flag, ditching the Monarchy, rewriting the history. And this is why I love the Seekers song; I am, You are, We are Australian so much. It should be our National Anthem and sung so frequently that we actually begin to believe it. Just as a house divided against itself cannot stand, neither can a nation. We are Australian! And what a wonderful title to wear!