Firstly I want to acknowledge the first people to walk on this great country.
The original and aboriginal Australians.
I know that Australia Day is also the day that changed everything for your ancestors.
I empathise with that feeling.
I do so by imagining what that would feel like for me.
I love this country deeply.
I have such a strong and proud heritage within it.
A grazing heritage.
My original family are grass roots, Kings in Grass Castles (see book of same title), arid country adversity dwellers – we were and still are people of the mulga in far south west Queensland.
White yes but bush nevertheless.
And for the last hundred years or so.
“Pitherty” my ancestral home at 100,000 acres and still in our family is a cut off paddock of Tinnenburra (which boasted the largest shearing stand in Australia) and my great grandfather and his twin brother managed.
So I know what it is to feel proud and part of.
And how destructive it would be if some ursurper came to claim our heritage, our country – and turn it into something else.
Something which many Australians feel as they look into the future and argue over things like refugees and foreign policy.
But this is not a day for politics
This is a day to be proud.
To recognise roots.
And to feel grateful.
I am proud of Australia’s diversity and opportunity.
I have read – of late – stories of refugees.
I would like to read many more.
But to read even one is to witness and allow.
It is to accept.
That these are people, humans just like us and to feel humbled, shamed by small and petty worries like
How much will they take?
How will this affect us?
For we – we are a privelledged bunch in this great southern land
This island of peace and plenty
Not much is the answer to how much
And the return is enormous
That is the answer.
In case you’re still asking what do they take and what do we receive.
I was in Hughenden last year
A tiny town in diddly squat Australia
In the middle of nowhere
I was participating in a race – the Porcupine Challenge.
I was tired afterwards.
To my surprise
I found a Chinese restaurant
In this speck of an iota of a dot on a map of a place
The menu was four pages long (in very small type font)
The food was amazing the variety overwhelming.
Behind the counter the woman of obviousky Asian descent that served me when I finally figured out what I wanted to eat -(the variety sent me into a dither)
Photos of her children graduating university
She was an Aussie
So were they
I am so proud
I grew up with Aboriginals
I know them
Know their wit
Tenacity and strengths
As I know I have many too
In this great country
We truly are the land of plenty
I cannot apologise for something which I have not done
But I do understand you
Am proud of you
You may be original or just came yesterday
Now we number many
We have been invaded
And by many nationalities
Not just white
We are brindle
Like pig dog mongrels
I like them
Softened by gratitude
Humbled with love
All fitting in
Having a go
We are a culture spread
Around the edges
You can peer at ancestry.com
I don’t have to
Am an Australian people
I walked from the time I can remember
On red soil
Hot beneath my feet
Smelt the eucalypt leaf
And searched for rain on the horizon
Your hard won gains
Your change of politicians
We are all one
Just Australian people
Happy Australia Day
To my our Australian people
Below is the Australia Day award ceremony for the main event – Australian of the year – dodgy video captured from my couch – I hoped for Deng after reading his book but then I heard the other stories and was just glad for any of them.
They are all worthy.
Gratitude and pride for my own countrymen/women in our national celebration tomorrow Jan 26th is a welcome relief to the global concerns of late.
We are all connected globally.
Nationally that love gets a little more intimate and a lot less stressful.
As a whole – I think we need to think globally, act locally to ensure that change for the better occurs.
Congratulations to all the recipients and nominated in tonight’s Australia Day awards.
The header photo is my bike on my last trip out west a couple of months ago riding the roads I love best in outback Australia.
Two days to go and am back on it (the bike) again and travelling through this amazing country where I’m safe as a solo female rider, free and happy – cannot wait and feel so blessed.