Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day

Today is Australia Day and a public holiday.
We commemorate the day in 1788 when the First Fleet of eleven convict ships arrived at Sydney Cove in Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) from Great Britain to establish the first white settlement in what was known then as New South Wales.
They had originally arrived a little to the south at Botany Bay a week before but found the site (recommended by Captain Cook) to have unsatisfactory anchorage, poor soil and little water.
Just prior to their leaving Botany Bay an expedition lead by Frenchman Jean François de Galaup comte de Lapérouse arrived.
Who knows, if he had been a little earlier, we may be all speaking French! But then again, his expedition was never heard of again after leaving the British. There is good evidence that his ships came to grief in the Solomon Islands to the north of Australia.
At least there is Sydney suburb named after him. La Perouse is situated on the north head of Botany bay.

In 1770 Captain James Cook had explored the east coast of the continent then known as Terra Australis and New Holland and taken possession of it for Great Britain on 22nd August.
Previous to that, the continent had been occupied, probably for around 40,000 years, by the Aboriginal people and had been known to Europeans, mainly the Dutch, from the beginning of 17th century.
While the Aboriginal people living here today see little reason to celebrate, what do the rest of us do on Australia Day?
The general consensus is not much. It's pretty much a lay back day, what with it falling at the end of summer school holidays and with a lot of the workforce still on vacation.
There are organized events across the nation with the emphasis on Sydney.
The co driver and I treat it much the same as any other day with no special activities planned.

No comments: