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Australia 2015
29th Jun 2016 - Australia


No Travelling

It’s been almost 30 years since I was last in Australia and I have a deep affection for the country.  I find Australian people to be easy going, relatively carefree and all round decent people.  So on my travels I wanted to examine the relationship between new Australians and the older Australians, the Aboriginal Community.

I have spoken to a lot of thoroughly decent new Australians and I believe that they are very sincere and, lets get this out of the way now, not at all racist in their attitude.

However that said, whilst I was there I observed a massive cultural divide that exists between both of the communities and I wanted to establish the roots to this, and possibly offer some way forward.

Here are my thoughts for what it’s worth:

Australia Day

This day marks the occasion that Australia was first occupied by the European settlers, the British.  This day is a national holiday and is, in my view celebrated by new Australians as a day of celebration of the Australian dream.  However it’s not taken with the same sentiment by the old Australians.   They appear to take great offence to its occasion.  This year I was out running in the town of Inverell when I came across the early morning celebrations for Australia Day.  Festivities were well underway in the local park but there was not one Aboriginal person there.  I came across them on the outskirts of the park and they had an appearance of deep dissatisfaction with the celebrations of the day.

Now put yourself in their positon, here is a community celebrating the destruction of their (the Aboriginal), history, lifestyle, culture and more importantly the deaths of thousands of their people.  This isn’t a day that draws all of the community of Australia together but appears to me to worsen the divide.

Now I’m not saying don’t have a national day of celebration, just have it on a day that’s not marking a date that’s extremely insensitive to one sector of the community.


Stop walking over it!!!  This is an extremely sacred place for Aboriginal people and their wish that it is not climbed is plainly evident.  Now, in my opinion, if someone asks politely that you refrain from doing something which is considered to them to be offensive then you don’t do it.  It’s just simple bad manners not to accept their wishes and it would go a very long way to improving relations, in my opinion of course.

Hand Outs – Stop it and stop it soon!

The young Australians owe nothing to their older countrymen.  What happened 300 years ago is done, dusted and gone.  The past is the past and if you continue to live in its shadow then there will never be progress.

Invasions have occurred throughout history, mainly undertaken by Europeans, but it is what it is, history.  Aboriginal communities need to embrace the 21st Century and either move into it, or if they choose an alternative lifestyle then take it, but don’t bleed the generosity of hardworking people and throw it back in their face.  And don’t play the hard done by card either and take handouts from the wider community as if it’s some divine right.

I have seen first-hand the destruction and violence that occurs in Aboriginal communities, I have read stories from school teachers in the Aurukun community who have been attacked and forced out just because they went to the aid of women and children who were being openly beaten in the streets by their menfolk.

I have read the thoughts of some Aboriginal elders who say that the current younger Australians are living off the back of the Aboriginal community of yesteryear and ought to pay for the privilege of doing so, well I’m sorry I don’t agree.

No person can be blamed for the circumstances of their birth, it’s that simple your born where you born, be it black, white, yellow of brown.  It’s up to you to make your life in the environment your born and not for someone else to provide for you.

Now obviously a civilised society takes care of people who, through no fault of their own, have difficulties in making a contribution, but that’s people, individuals, not an entire section of the wider population.

I appreciate that in recent years Aboriginal people have not been treated with respect as human beings and that is a very sad indictment of the people who did it, but not everyone is like that, we are more civilised, thankfully, so let it go and move on.

Finally I do appreciate that due to the location of some aboriginal communities people find working opportunities difficult to come by, now I’m not going to repeat the infamous words of Norman Tebbit and say to them get on your bike.  But what I will say is that nothing will improve unless you wholly want it to improve and that the only route available is education.  Now the Aboriginal people are a truly proud people and there is nothing I have seen, whilst being amongst them, to suggest, that they are incapable of being educated, and I find it hard to believe that a whole community would not want to improve the lives of their children and the only that can be achieved is by education.

Well that’s my thoughts for what they are worth.  I could go further and wider with my observations and I do accept that I have not entered into any deep and meaningful conversations with Aboriginal people, but I can tell you it’s not through lack of trying.

Finally I hope that my comments are taken with the intention that they are meant and that is that they are just an objective assessment of my observations whilst being amongst the residents of this fantastic country.

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29th Jun 2016  Aboriginal Art
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