Great History as told by Great Men
On Tuesday, a prime minister announced there’ll be a re-enactment of Captain Cook’s circumnavigation of Australia on the 250th anniversary of his maiden voyage to Australia in 1770 because that would be an act of reconciliation with Indigenous people. That would really show those who like to talk down our history, he said. It’s important the lessons are shared with the rest of the country, and it’ll be good for tourism and a great opportunity to spark a conversation about our history.
Many leapt to take up the invitation.
On Wednesday, a lawyer and Brexit entrepreneur opined that if you research the debates in Australia at the time of the 1899 independence and Federation referendum, you will see for those opposed to Federation the arguments of losing the trading block and economic subsidies of the ‘motherland’ made them think Federation was as silly as Brexit. Britain has never been a comfortable European, despite being ruled over by a German royal family who married Greeks. For many who support Brexit, he said, taking back control is not a racist view, it is a de-colonial one.
On Thursday, a country musician solemnly told a TV audience that Australia Day is every day, it’s all about loving the bush which is what Indigenous people have done, but we must never deny that fact that Captain Cook brought the modern world into this country because only 230 years ago people were still making fire with sticks, but, he said, when we get a republic that should be the day we can all celebrate together.
26 January 1788: some say it was the day the invasion of Gadigal Country began with the unloading of several hundred convicted criminals on the shores of Sydney Cove. But, as these great men have taught us, in their very own words, with their lessons and research and anti-denialism, that’s just some weird counterfactual.
Either this week has been evidence of the existence of parallel universes, or history is fiction and historians don’t exist.
26 January 2019 – what a long, long weekend.