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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Happy Australia Daze

 

Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia. Last year it fell on a Tuesday which meant millions of Ockers considered it their birthright to chuck a sickie to score themselves a four-day weekend.

The cost of absenteeism to the Australian economy is now more than $32.5 billion a year in payroll and lost productivity costs but that doesn't stop your full-blown Ocker to come up with ever more ridiculous excuses to use when chucking a sickie.

Just to help you, the following have already been used: I CAN’T COME IN BECAUSE MY CAT IS THROWING UP; THE WEATHER IS TOO BAD; MY ALARM DIDN’T GO OFF; I GOT THE DAYS MIXED UP, I THOUGHT IT WAS STILL SUNDAY; I LOST MY OPAL CARD; LADY DOWN THE ROAD HAD JUST HUNG HER SHEETS OUT AND I DIDN’T WANT TO DRIVE PAST AND GET DUST ON THEM; MY GIRLFRIEND WAS MEANT TO GIVE ME A LIFT BUT SHE GOT MAD AND DROVE OFF WITHOUT ME.

Celebrated annually on 26 January (which this year falls on a Thursday; another four-day weekend?), Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.

On 13 May 1787 a fleet of 11 ships, which came to be known as the First Fleet, was sent by the British Admiralty from England to Australia. Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the fleet sought to establish a penal colony at Botany Bay on the coast of New South Wales, which had been explored and claimed by Lieutenant James Cook in 1770. The settlement was seen as necessary because of the loss of the Thirteen Colonies in North America. The Fleet arrived between 18 and 20 January 1788, but it was immediately apparent that Botany Bay was unsuitable.

On 21 January, Phillip and a few officers travelled to Port Jackson, 12 kilometres to the north, to see if it would be a better location for a settlement. They stayed there until 23 January; Phillip named the site of their landing Sydney Cove, after the Home Secretary, Thomas Townshend, 1st Viscount Sydney.

They returned to Botany Bay on the evening of 23 January, when Phillip gave orders to move the fleet to Sydney Cove the next morning, 24 January. That day, there was a huge gale blowing, making it impossible to leave Botany Bay, so they decided to wait till the next day, 25 January. However, during 24 January, they spotted the ships Astrolabe and Boussole, flying the French flag, at the entrance to Botany Bay; they were having as much trouble getting into the bay as the First Fleet was having getting out.

On 25 January the gale was still blowing; the fleet tried to leave Botany Bay, but only HMS Supply made it out, carrying Arthur Phillip, Philip Gidley King, some marines and about 40 convicts; they anchored in Sydney Cove in the afternoon. On 26 January, early in the morning, Phillip along with a few dozen marines, officers and oarsmen, rowed ashore and took possession of the land in the name of King George III. The remainder of the ship's company and the convicts watched from on board Supply.

The formal establishment of the Colony of New South Wales did not occur on 26 January as is commonly assumed. It did not occur until 7 February 1788, when the formal proclamation of the colony and of Arthur Phillip's governorship were read out. The vesting of all land in the reigning monarch King George III also dates from 7 February 1788.

We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come; we share a dream and sing with one voice: I am, you are, we are Australian! Happy Australia Daze!