Monday, June 4, 2012

A Public Holiday

Today is a holiday in Western Australia. I must confess that, to me, a holiday usually meant a day off work. I have been retired now for 14 years and I have 'missed' a lot of holidays over those years. I hear people talking about the long weekend coming up, but never hear what the holiday is for.

Today's holiday is Western Australia Day, previously named Foundation Day, but mainly in deference to our indigenous people, renamed W.A. Day. I am unsure if the usual Foundation Day celebrations will change....usually there are colonial uniforms, muskets etc at re-enactments of the British securing this side of Australia for the Crown. We are in an age of Political Correctness in respect to our Aboriginal people.

A little background from Wikipedia:

HMS Challenger, under Captain Charles Fremantle, anchored off Garden Island on 25 April 1829. Fremantle officially claimed the western part of Australia for Britain on 2 May. The merchant vessel Parmelia, with Stirling, other officials and civilian settlers on board, sighted the coast on 1 June. It anchored in Cockburn Sound on 2 June. Another warship, HMS Sulphur, arrived on 6 June, carrying the British Army garrison. The Swan River Colony was officially proclaimed by Stirling on 11 June.
Ships carrying more civilian settlers began arriving in August, and on 12 August, Helen Dance, wife of the captain of Sulphur, cut down a tree to mark the founding of the colony's capital, Perth.
In 1834, Stirling decided that an annual celebration was needed to unite the colony's inhabitants, including both settlers and Aborigines, and "masters and servants" (the terms used at the time for employers and employees). He decided that an annual commemoration would be held on 1 June. It appears that the date was chosen by Stirling not only because it represented the sighting of the coast from Parmelia, but because it was also the date of a significant British naval victory in 1794, the "Glorious First of June".
Today's cartoon in The West Australian newspaper.   

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