It would seem that some of the heat could be taken out of the Australia Day date debate by suggesting a definitive alternative that has positive connotations for both the indigenous peoples and those humans who arrival of settlers from Europe with the so called First Fleet on 26 January 1788.
The proposal put forward here is for the date of the winter solstice in Australia, variable between 21 June or 22 June dependant on the year — a specific date, not tied to a weekend. Whether the 26 January is retained by the Indigenous Australians as their Invasion Day should have little bearing on a decision to adopt Solstice Day — or better still, call it Capricorn Uniting Day. It should be a day of celebrating the unity of all Australians, the First Nation peoples, European, Asian, American and African people coming together to “Call Australia Home”.
And with this the original Homos who arrived from 60,000 years ago must also understand the the drifting Australian continent was then without the Great Apes or any other Hominoid species, and that they were not long into modifying the environment to suit their life style, including being responsible, in part, for many species extinction such as the megafauna species.
Here are some points in favour of the Solstice date and tying it accordingly to the 23.30° S. latitude of the Tropic of Capricorn are:
1.The Tropic of Cancer is situated across the centre of the Great South Land not separating, but tying tropical Northern Australia and sub-tropical and temperate Southern Australia.
2.It crosses close by or through Emerald, Longreach, the Channel Country, Alice Springs, the Larapinta area in the spectacular West MacDonnell Ranges, Hermannsberg with its Aboriginal Art history, and the Ningaloo Reefs on the West Coast, away from the major cities, with all sites of historical significance.
3. 17th century Dutch sailers came to grief on the Ningaloo coral reefs and the indigenous peoples suffered terrible loss in the frontier wars as graziers occupied the the Central Australian Brigalow lands near Emerald. It is the struggle of history uniting us through time with by all parties acknowledging the difficulties of the environment and insensitivities of invasion.
4. It highlights the importance of the sun as the fuel of life on Earth and the significance of the seasons in understanding ecological relationships, an aspect of knowledge for living successfully and sustainably in our Island continent. We should recognise the Science told in dance and song in the Aboriginal relationships with their land, and what our short-term White Australians have been loath to understand.
We don’t have to call it Australia Day to be our national day. Neither should it be Sorry Day, currently held on 26 May. However, whatever date and whatever the name, indigenous Australian must be part of the dialogue around the decision with a target to make the change when Australia declares itself the Great South Land Republic or The Australian Republic.
Robin Simson BA. MSc. OAM
Posted 26 Jan 2018