Australia, History & Traditions

The Great Australian Salute – January 26

Australian culture is largely Anglo-Saxon with a mix of indigenous, and immigrant cultures which are contributing so much positivity to the landscape or our country. We are without doubt, a multi-cultural society. Like it or lump it!

January 26 is a day when new immigrants choose to take part in a citizenship ceremony to become a new citizen of Australia. They come from many parts of the world. January 26 is known as Australia Day. But what is it, really celebrating?


January 26 is the day acknowledging the landing of the First Fleet of ships, bringing the first group of British convicts, to Australia shores, in 1788. After 1783, America refused to take any further convicts from Britain, so Australia was seen as a place to relocate the people who had committed crimes,(seen as a permanent personality deficit), in those days.

Most ships from the original fleet actually arrived between 18 and 20 January in Botany Bay, but January 26 is the day that is celebrated nationally. The fledgling settlement was soon created at  Sydney Cove,  now the iconic Circular Quay, and Port Jackson, now part of the greater Sydney region.

[Source: Wikipedia]

Sydney Cove was called Warrane by the indigenous Cadigal people.

From this “jailor” beginning, Australia has developed to a modern, independent country with ties to the old Commonwealth, and a laid back, laconic, larrikin culture of acceptance and mate-ship.

Wiki explains more about the First Fleet’s arrival:

The majority of the people on the First Fleet were British, but there were also African, American and French convicts on board.[15][16] The group included seamen, marines and their families, government officials, and a large number of convicts, including women and children. The convicts had committed a variety of crimes, including theft, perjury, fraud, assault and robbery. The sentences the convicts received were transportation for 7 years, 14 years or for the term of their natural life.

It was not a great day for the Aboriginals, the indigenous people of Australia:

The First Fleet encountered indigenous Australians when they landed at Botany Bay. The Cadigal people of the Botany Bay area witnessed the Fleet arrive and six days later the two ships of French explorer La Pérouse sailed into the bay.[49] When the Fleet moved to Sydney Cove seeking better conditions for establishing the colony, they encountered the Eora people, including the Bidjigal clan. A number of the First Fleet journals record encounters with Aboriginal people.[50]

Although the official policy of the British Government was to establish friendly relations with Aboriginal people,[42] and Arthur Phillip ordered that the Aboriginal people should be well treated, it was not long before conflict began. The colonists did not understand Aboriginal society and its relationship with the land and the Aboriginal people did not understand the British practices of farming and land ownership. The colonists did not sign treaties with the original inhabitants of the land.[51] Between 1790 and 1810, Pemulwuy of the Bidjigal clan led the local people in a series of attacks against the British colonisers.[52]

I would like to extend a hearty welcome all the new Australians today, people who have chosen like my ancestors to make this country their new home.  May your new life be all that you dreamed of, and hardships merely challenges to be overcome!

Australia – 1788 to 2015

Something to Ponder About

17 thoughts on “The Great Australian Salute – January 26”

    1. There are many parrellels, Karen, at least i the past. But there are lots of differences too. And yes, those ships must have been an alien sight for the native people. I wonder what they made of it. They wore very little clothing due to the heat, so I wonder what they thought of the British naval officer wearing their elaborate white uniforms and weird hats!!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Have to agree with SmallHouseBigGarden. It must have come as a shock for the First Peoples to see the ships arriving. But Australia has indeed come a long way since then. Diversity is the fabric of our society, and that’s a fact. Happy Australia Day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s interesting that any one with convict ancestors did all they cold to hide the fact back in the 1900″s. But now it has almost become a badge of honour and acknowledged as being a “true” Australian


    1. Again, you are right, Pauline (?) I am a seventh generation Australia on one who is descended from a family who were among the first 50 free settlers, and lo and behold, the daughter, goes and marries a convict ( ticket o leave) man. That is true love for you, and I guess women had a lot more rights out here in the colonies!


        1. Yes, on the Danish side that married into the Aussie one. Most of it was done by others, and it was my job to find them. I found my heritage fantastic for making connection with descendants.


              1. I had friends who did genealogy and the highlight of their travels, apart from visiting new found family members, was looking round grave yards…


              2. Graveyards, LOL! I am afraid I can’t do that in Denmark, although their cemeteries are so beautiful. Finely manicured gardens with conifer bushes, small evergreen shrubs and white stones to separate the graves. A far cry from the overgrown weed infested forgotten graves I, sadly, are familiar with here. Danish plots are only kept for 25 years, then reused unless you choose to pay an extra fee for maintenance. I am not sure my descendants will choose to do that for me……I do appreciate your comment, and the friends aspect of genealogy certainly does apply. 🙂


              3. I think it depends on the type of soil. If it is a bog then the skeleton can last for 1000’s of years. Although, I am never sure why. I did,any years ago attend an exhumation with my work and the skeleton was all but gone after 15 years


Comments are closed.