Perth, Australia

Australia Day: In Honor of the Foundation, Mourning for Invasion

Sound of Disputation
Aborigene plays didgeridoo on Aussie Day.
aerial aussie flag
Helicopter displays an Australian flag above the crowd of ozzies celebrating Australia Day in Perth.
flag at sunset
Patriot holds an Australian flag upon arrival on the south bank of the Swan River in Perth.
ozzy, ozzy, ozzy
Patriot waves an Australian flag on its way to the bank of the Swan River.
Australia Meat
Supermarket foists Australian beef on Australia Day.
love for australia
Australian couple celebrate Australia Day on the south bank of the Swan River.
Australian Day Barbecue
Patriota grills meat during the Australia Day barbecue he organized in his villa.
aussie beer
Patriot drinks a beer and rests in the afternoon of Australia Day
On the way to Australia Day
Young patriots make their way to the south bank of the Swan River, where they will watch the fireworks and celebrate Australia Day.
Perth skies
Fireworks illuminate the Swan River estuary and the center of Perth.
Swan river on fire
Fireworks illuminate the Swan River estuary and the center of Perth.
Aussie crowd
Crowd awaits the start of the fireworks at Perth's CBD (Central Business District)
rodeo almost seriously
Woman exercises her cow-woman skills on a mechanical bull.
Perth across the Swan River
Perth's CBD (Central Business District) illuminated after dark.
twilight perth
Australians celebrate Aussie Day overlooking the Central Business District of Perth, the capital of Western Australia.
26/1 is a controversial date in Australia. While British settlers celebrate it with barbecues and lots of beer, Aborigines celebrate the fact that they haven't been completely wiped out.

The afternoon has barely begun.

The small supermarket is at the top and there is a long line for the autonomous alcohol section which, in Australia, like the United States, is not sold to just anyone.

Adults and sober, we get away with the desired beers. The barbecue meat is about to disappear.

On the refrigerated shelf, packages of lamb chops stand out, which a scribbled white sheet promotes with creativity as nationalistic as it is basic: "Australia Day, Buy Australian Lamb".

Australia Day, Perth, Meat, Patriot

Supermarket foists Australian beef on Australia Day.

We also find, at a special hyper-inflated price, kangaroo steaks with the characteristic shape of the big island, a trick of the sly marketing of the downunder where many ozzies they insist on falling.

In their spacious villa in Redcliffe, on the outskirts of Perth, Mick and Jamie prepare salads. Rod, our kind host, drinks Toohey after Toohey.

That way you can refresh yourself from the heat of the austral summer and the grill on which you cook your Barbie Favorite of the year.

Australia Day Perth, Patriot Barbecue

Patriota grills meat during the Australia Day barbecue he organized in his villa.

Meanwhile, close family and friends burst into an already half-drunk fuss through the garden.

Half an hour later, the first ones come out burgers. the party goes on autopilot, as it does in hundreds of thousands of other villas across vast Australia.

The Always On Controversy Around Australia Day

Australia Day began in 1808. Since then, it has become the country's largest annual public event and a celebration as popular as it is controversial.

The date itself is contested for different reasons. To begin with, it marks the day of the founding of the colony of New South Wales (26 January 1788), an event that many consider not to have adequate national relief.

Afterwards, in the opinion of other contestants, it marks, above all, the beginning of the country's penal past since, on that date, the first British convicts were taken ashore.

The most serious of the gaps pointed out is the day chosen not to contemplate the aboriginal community that despises it whatever the perspective and prefers to call it Invasion Day, Survival Day or Day of Mourning.

Australia Day, Perth, aborigine plays didgiridoo

Aborigene plays didgeridoo on Aussie Day.

On the 26th of January, Australia is in the midst of a summer vacation. Multimillionaire promoters run the biggest summer music festivals such as the Big Day Out, Hottest 100 and Australia Day Live Concert.

This last festival is broadcast on Aussies TV channels, similar to what happens with the exquisite galas of the Australian of the Year award and of some Citizenship Ceremonies that grant citizenship to more than ten thousand immigrants from the four corners of the world.

Other characteristic events of British “civilization” galvanize the nation at its own pace. International Cricket Test Matches drag on for days at the Adelaide Oval.

Meanwhile, an assortment of other competitions prove ozzie's vocation for sport and the outdoor life.

Australia Day, Mechanical Rodeo, El Caballo

Woman exercises her cow-woman skills on a mechanical bull.

Against Australia Day, Aboriginal Survival Day

At the same time, in Sydney, with their backs turned to their fellow countrymen, the aborigines are carrying out the Survival Day Concert. This event commemorates the macabre fact that not all of its counterparts were killed by Europeans.

Parallel demonstrations take place in Australian cities with a greater presence of natives who also claim rights never granted by rulers such as the return of the vast occupied territories.

This counter-celebration has been going on for decades. It has managed to sensitize the authorities to the lack of common sense and sensitivity with which Australia Day was planned.

In such a way that, in the latest polls on the subject, 90% of Australians recognized the need to respect the Aboriginal population. And, as of 2006, the government of New South Wales it has introduced events such as the Woggan-ma-gule into the commemoration programme, which is attended by aborigines and seeks to honor the painful past of colonization.

Despite these and other attempts at reconciliation, the relationship with the natives remains unresolved. It does not seem to disturb the festivities prevailing either in Rod's villa, in Perth or in Anglophone Australia in general.

Australia Day Perth, Perth Skyline

Perth's CBD (Central Business District) illuminated after dark.

From Rod's House to the Shores at Swan River Party

We leave Rod's house. We follow the frenzied group towards the banks of the Swan River. We join the 400.000 sandgropers (inhabitants of Western Australia) who gather to watch the city's famous fireworks.

Along the way, we pass the gardens of other houses, also animated by barbecues by the swimming pools or on immaculate lawns.

Rod and his guests yell “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!!” speakerphone and in unison. On the opposite side of the street, drunk compatriots respond with an echo and demand a new repetition of the ritual.

Gradually, the spectators are distributed along the banks of the river. They ensure the best possible view of the metropolis' Central Business District where early lighting promises a dignified entrance to the big event.

At sunset, helicopters fly over the area and fly gigantic Australian flags.

Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag

Helicopter displays an Australian flag above the crowd of ozzies celebrating Australia Day in Perth.

Take the crowd to an ecstasy true blue easy that is vocalized with new Australian screams and reinforced by the waving of thousands of smaller flags.

Australia Day, Perth, patriotic crowd

Crowd awaits the start of the fireworks at Perth's CBD (Central Business District)

When the noise subsides, a small middle-aged clan, already fed up with the screaming, foists “Waltzing Matilda”, one of the unavoidable themes of the traditionalist and nationalist Aussie songbook.

The motto catches. Out of nowhere, a sympathetic and moved choir sings and dances the song from beginning to end.

Australia Day, Perth, Australian Flag

Patriot holds an Australian flag upon arrival on the south bank of the Swan River in Perth.

Other hymns almost follow, but with the night already settled, the first fireworks bursts over the skyscrapers across the Swan.

Both the firmament and the smooth surface of the river are filled with color.

Australia Day, Perth, fireworks

Fireworks illuminate the Swan River estuary and the center of Perth.

The explosions repeat for forty minutes and mesmerize the spectators. For a moment, the great island nation indulges in the fleeting delight of that vision and ignores its unresolved dramas.

Australia Day, Perth, couple

Australian couple celebrate Australia Day on the south bank of the Swan River.

Or so feel the Australians who have never passed through them.

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