Australia Day, celebrating the founding of the colony, is coming up in that country and I have a related “The Best…” list — The Best Sites To Learn About Australia.

Darcy Moore suggested I add some resources that offer a different perspective on that holiday, and I invited him to write a piece that I would add to that list. Darcy is a blogger, photographer & Australian deputy principal. He has a keen interest in collaborating with students and educators around the world.

Australian history has been fiercely contested by historians and politicians in recent decades. ‘History Wars’ have been fought over the various interpretations of ‘our past’. The two major opposing views have been pejoratively described as, ‘The Black Armband’ and the ‘Three Cheers’ version of our history. One interpretation emphasises Australia’s march to nationhood and progress, the other, acknowledges the destruction of both the environment and Aboriginal culture. Past government policies, including removing Aboriginal children from their homes (‘The Stolen Generations’) were particularly contested. The central position of the ‘ANZAC legend’, the positive story of Australia’s armed forces, is also questioned. To understand Australian History it is important to understand this debate. You
can read more here.

Australia Day on the 26th January is a good example of the debate about our shared history. How can Aboriginal Peoples, dispossessed of their land, celebrate the European founding of a colony on this date in 1788? Here are some important questions about Australia Day posed at the ‘official page’ suggesting Australians are often working positively to reconcile the challenging, disturbing aspects of our shared past. Many people applauded former Prime Minister Rudd’s apology to ‘The Stolen Generations’ after his predecessor, John Howard, had refused to do so for more than a decade.

Thank, Darcy! These issues are similar to some of the ones I’ve raised in posts on Columbus Day and Thanksgiving here in the United States.