Why We Need To Talk About Australia Day

What It Means To A Gamilaraay Man

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With Australia Day on the horizon for 2021 the conversation around changing the date of the national day has begun again and Gamilaraay man Dane Simpson believes that January 26th isn’t a day to celebrate.

“The very first Australia Day being celebrated … What they did was a re-enactment in Sydney, they got Aboriginal people to come over from South Australia … people were dressed in colonial kits and came in on boats … with muskets and stood over the Aboriginal people”, Dane said this morning.

The day has been controversial for many years now with many indigenous people feeling as though the day doesn’t reflect all of Australian culture. There has been calls to change the date from the 26th of January for some time and Dane believes it could be a chance for something new.

“Changing the date for me would be something where we’re starting fresh and everybody can get involved.”

The Wagga comedian also said he wants to make sure we can celebrate Australia but it needs to be done in the right way to ensure that everyone can be included and that people remember the origins of the date.

Dane reflected on last year’s Australia Day when a memorial was held in the morning at the river to recognise what the day means to indigenous people.

“It’s certainly a step forward, and it’s a good empathy sort of thing. People meet down there and show a compete understanding of this country and where we come from” he said.

While we are taking a step in the right direction, Dane believes there is still a long way to go when it comes to educating people, especially in schools, about Australia’s past.

“Not a lot of people know about Aboriginal history and what did happen when colonisation happened – that’s pretty full on and maybe that’s why we don’t bring it up but it should be talked about”.

The former Australia Day Ambassador for Wagga City Council believes that if people are given all the information, they are smart enough to make up their own minds.

Listen to the full chat here:

21 January 2021

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