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Come on, Aussies

By Ian Nance - posted Thursday, 15 December 2011


Since England opened our land as a prison, the inmates have taken steady, slow, steps to where we are today. In the process, we scored one huge black mark (no pun intended). The majority of us looked down on our original owners, oppressed, and even killed them, to assert our 'superiority.' Perhaps we were recovering from a giant inferiority complex, and overcame it, by putting down those less seemingly as advanced as ourselves.

One element of difference between ourselves and those we invaded, was the concept of land ownership.

We came to these shores with European ideas of possession, and tried to force the indigenes to conform to our beliefs, without knowing that, to them, the country owns them – not the other way around.

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Our Aboriginal people are acutely aware of their need to preserve the land, which is the source of all bounty, and to which they belong - there is a very strong sense of ecological responsibility in all tribes.

It is only in the last few years that we have acknowledged the rightful place of our nation's original landholders and said "sorry" for our many past misdeeds. Perhaps Santa would see that as sincere, compassionate behaviour, and give a few Chrissy credits for it.

When "we" founded this nation, we brought with us a highly developed set of laws, a powerful language, an appreciation of all the arts and a sense of dispossession and unfair treatment at the hand of authority.

This last factor, I think, has led to our strengthening make-do, readiness to cope and disdain of the trappings of social hierarchy. For those developments, Santa would probably give us encouragement, if not a gift.

But a population, drawn from thousands of years of civilisation, history, precedents and relationships, could not start afresh totally. The old ways hung on, particularly political fighting. Religion, a very strong factor at the heart of social conformity, led many to believe in faith, and not personal 'sowing and reaping.' Some divine being controlled our destiny.

One religious and cultural anachronism was the tradition of Christmas in this total about face of geography. Yet, we hung on to the concept of snow-clad pines and reindeer on roofs, accompanied by a fat, jolly, bewhiskered Santa. The culture stayed strong during roasting meals and lusty imbibing on heatwave days. Santa would surely give us a large gift for perseverance!

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Our population makeup was a portent of the future. While the bulk of convicts were English, a large number had their origins from across the Irish Sea, and in many cases, they were convicted as a result of fervent practical political battling in England, their chosen country for migration. Yet, in their new lives, they found something to share with the British, and the emerging colony had the ability to see that it was necessary to assimilate and amalgamate with each other to survive. The next little gift from Santa.

Come forward two hundred and twenty three years, and look at assimilation and amalgamation today.

As a country, we enjoy a great advantage not possessed by many of our modern civilisations – space.

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About the Author

Ian Nance's media career began in radio drama production and news. He took up TV direction of news/current affairs, thence freelance television and film producing, directing and writing. He operated a program and commercial production company, later moving into advertising and marketing.

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