“Among their leaders pressing for Aboriginal rights were William Cooper, founder of the Australian Aborigines' League in Victoria in 1936, and Jack Patten, Bill Ferguson and Pearl Gibbs, who headed the Aborigines' Progressive Association, formed New South Wales in 1937. For them and those they represented, Australia Day was a 'day of mourning'.”
Amazingly, it was not until 1993 that the National Australia Day Committee formally recognised the need to encourage reconciliation between Aboriginal and other Australians in Australia Day celebrations.*
I suppose Australia Day is one of those national myths that continue for reasons other than having a firm foundation. It seems it was promoted through the 19th and 20th centuries by a group called the Australia Natives Association. 'Natives' in the case meant Anglo-Celtic people born in Australia. As distinct from Indigenous people or immigrants.
One would have thought that January 1 would be a better day to celebrate the formation of a single nation. Even despite the fact that, until 1967, its Constitution excluded the indigenous occupants of the land from being counted as citizens. And even despite the fact that its Constitution still does not recognise that they were here first.
Maybe a good celebration would be able to happen when the three groups that make up the nation of Australia, the indigenous, the Anglo-Celtic heirs and the peoples from other cultures, were all able to be recognised as one people by each other and under the Constitution.