The 26th of January is currently recognised as Australia Day, a day to celebrate all things we love about Australia, the land, the lifestyle, the diversity, the nature and animals and the people that make this country the place we call home. I say currently recognised, as one day the date may change, a contentious issue for some.
These words are taken from the official Australia Day website: ‘Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have mixed feelings about celebrating this day – some consider it a day of mourning, and others use the day to mark the survival of their ongoing traditions and cultures.’
…‘Our national day provides an opportunity to acknowledge and learn about our nation’s past. It’s a time to reflect on and learn about our national journey including the ongoing history, traditions and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.’
The indigenous culture of Australia is estimated to be more than 60,000 years old, the world’s oldest continuous living culture. When the First Fleet arrived there were more than 500 Indigenous groups and about 750,000 people. By the 1900s the Indigenous population was estimated to have reduced by 90%. Figures like these, today are shocking and make me cringe and obviously with the advantage of hindsight, I feel uncomfortable, ashamed, embarrassed and horrified with this part of our history.
For this reason I am OK with any change that may happen in the future. To me it’s more about the acknowledgment and love of the lifestyle and natural beauty of this country while also trying to learn more about our rich indigenous culture in moving forward together, so any day that the whole country can come together as one is good by me.
On a lighter note, one thing I do always look forward to (around Australia Day) is the Triple J Hottest 100 countdown where listeners choose their favourite top 10 songs of the year and this is sorted into the top 100 and counted down all day to the number 1 most popularly voted song. This year the broadcast will happen on Saturday the 25th of January as the radio station Triple J chooses not to celebrate Australia Day on the 26th. Triple J is a national government funded radio station which evolved from radio station 2JJ which began broadcasting in 1975. The station began when the Whitlam Government was in power as part of their media policy and it was thought to be a way to woo young voters, operating under the umbrella of the ABC. It was different at the time in that it was not bound by commercial-radio censorship rules, and was not answerable to advertisers or station owners.
What made Triple J different then and now to commercial radio stations is that it places a greater emphasis on broadcasting Australian content as well as alternative music and up and coming artists that you may not hear anywhere else. Not everything I hear on Triple J is my cup of tea, (with a demographic target of 18 -24 year olds it’s not meant to be) but what I do love is that it is consistent and covers around 98% of the country, so you can pick it up even when you’re travelling around the country. Music to me is not ageist though and I want to hear what’s new as much as familiar oldies but goodies, hello Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil, Pete Murray etc… Triple J is the station I listen to most though, it is always playing when I am trying to get stories and thoughts together so I love voting in the Hottest 100 competition every year. Here are my choices for this year, perhaps they are songs or artists you like too, or maybe you can discover a new favourite.
Enjoy Australia Day wherever, whenever and however you do it! Peace.