On 26 January 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guided a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively this was to be the founding of Australia. After many years of hardship and strife this new colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great enthusiasm.
Australia, once known as New South Wales, was originally planned as a penal colony. In October 1786, the British government appointed Arthur Phillip captain of the HMS Sirius, and commissioned him to establish an agricultural work camp there for British convicts. Knowing very little about this far flung new land Phillip had great difficulty assembling the fleet that was to make the journey. His requests for experienced farmers to help set up the penal colony were repeatedly denied. As a result he set out for Australia with little funds and few resources. The crew of the ship were accompanied by a small contingent of Marines and other officers, Phillip led his 1,000-strong party, of whom more than 700 were convicts, around Africa to the eastern side of Australia. In all, the voyage lasted eight months, claiming the deaths of some 30 men.
The first years of settlement were extremely hard. With poor soil, an unfamiliar hostile climate and workers who were ignorant of farming, Phillip had great difficulty keeping the men alive. The colony was on the verge of outright starvation for several years, and the marines sent to keep order were not up to the task. Phillip, who proved to be a tough but fair-minded leader, persevered by appointing convicts to positions of responsibility and oversight. Floggings and hangings were commonplace, but so was egalitarianism. As Phillip said before leaving England: "In a new country there will be no slavery and hence no slaves."
Though Phillip returned to England in 1792, the colony did well and became prosperous by the turn of the 19th century. Feeling a new sense of patriotism, the men began to rally around January 26 as their founding day.
Finally, in 1818, January 26 became an official holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. And, as Australia became a sovereign nation, it became the national holiday known as Australia Day. Today, Australia Day serves both as a day of celebration for the founding of the white British settlement, and as a day of mourning for the Aborigines who were slowly dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent. This being a fact that still has difficult implications.
So, early this morning, Australia woke up to start THE party! So many different events take place throughout the land. However, there is a more serious side too. On this great day in 2009, more than 13,000 new Australian citizens will make a public pledge of their commitment to Australia at citizenship ceremonies around the nation.
The Australian Flag Raising and Australian Citizenship Ceremony has become a flagship event in the nation's capital. Held on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, new citizens and guests watch the Australian flag raised on the Canadian flag pole, before reciting the Australian Citizenship Pledge: the last step in the process of becoming a citizen.
New citizens are then presented with their certificate of Australian citizenship by the Prime Minister of Australia, the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP.
In honour of our Australian friends I have looked on Etsy.com to see what I could find! Here are just a couple of items.
An archival print of an original artwork done in watercolours on Rtistx panel by miniature artist Karen Hull from Sydney, Australia.
Adorable koala tag by Angie Delarie from Perth, Australia.
Thats is acid free ..ready for that scrapbooking or card making page or card !!