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Monday, January 26, 2015

Australia Day

 

I’m not one for flag-waving or overt signs of patriotism. Patriotism comes in many forms, and it doesn’t have to involve wrapping yourself in a flag.

On the 24 January 1788, the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay. They went there first because that’s where James Cook landed eight years earlier, and they followed his advice. But Governor Phillip wasn’t a fan. It had no fresh water, so he decided to head back up the coast.

In turning around to get out of the bay, a few ships of the fleet sailed into each other in a nice display of maritime ineptitude. The locals watching from the shore were no doubt bemused.

Once finally out of the bay, the fleet headed back up the coast and on the 26 January, 1788, sailed into the magnificent Sydney heads, revealing to the exhausted and land-starved crews what must have looked like the largest and most stunning harbour in the world.

They set up camp in Sydney Cove, where Circular Quay is today. The first few years were a tough existence. If only those on the First Fleet could see it today ...