My changing perspective on Australia Day


It happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve known forever don’t see things the way you do. So you keep the wonderful memories, but find yourself moving on.     
~ Nicholas Sparks

It’s Australia Day,  a national celebration of the 1788  arrival of the First Fleet to Sydney Cove. A national holiday and day of celebration for all Australians. It’s a day I always looked forward to as a child and young adult – a day of barbeques and beach swims, of mateship and camaraderie.

But I’m fifty now, and other things pre-occupy me this morning as I drag the hose around our garden, filling the birdbaths and the bowls we’ve left out for the animals. I’ve never seen it this dry here at the farm. Australia’s been experiencing a catastrophic heatwave, and everything that was once green here in my little piece of paradise is dusty and brown. Since we’ve lived on this farm we’ve seen an alarming decline in bird populations, insects, marsupials and animals of all kinds. Some days I find it hard to breathe with this co-existing undercurrent of alarm.

I love this country. Her dust is in my veins. After my time in the Kimberley with my Aboriginal Aunties I truly understand what it means to belong to country. To feel the pulsing heart of this great land beating as one with your own. I still feel Australia’s beauty and magic daily. But even as my heart soars with the beauty and mystery of this country, it is breaking too.

An Aboriginal woman sits by rock carvings in Western Australia. Photograph: Medford Taylor/Getty

Breaking as I watch the effects of global warming, at the loss of habitats and ecosystems and at the mass extinctions that are happening on our watch. Breaking as I watch self-interested adults governing nations for short term re-election victories instead of with a true vision for the Earth’s future. Breaking as I watch whole tracts of land laid waste by mining and land clearing. Breaking at the plastic in our oceans. Breaking as I watch our government turn people away from Australia’s shores or lock them up in detention for years, forgetting that we were all once boat people too. Breaking for the historic treatment of our indigenous nations.

I think of my Aboriginal Aunties. (Aunties through love and respect and their gracious inclusion of me in their family – not through blood.) I reflect on how they opened their arms to me, and shared wisdom and acceptance and grace when I was going through psychic awakening. In their culture I was normal, and these gifts were normal. Their kindness continues to shape and enrich me.

I think of the fact that their entire history was negated through the British policy of Terra Nullius at the time of white settlement, which obliterated Aboriginal sovereignty and rendered them invisible and without rights in their own land.

They are still, so often, invisible or made to feel that way. Like almost all indigenous nations around the world. We are losing their old ways, their wisdom, and their insights into the land right when we need them most.

Dancers from the Yarrabah community perform during the Laura Aboriginal Dance Festival in Laura, Australia Picture: GETTY

I think about going shopping a few years ago on Racecourse Road at Ascot in Brisbane, with my friend Vynette and her mother Leanna. About how while I was in the change rooms trying on a dress they disappeared. I found them sitting in a bus stop down the road. Why? They’d been asked to leave the shop. They’d been told that they couldn’t afford anything, that they shouldn’t be touching anything – because they were making it dirty, and that they should just leave. Why? They are Aborigines.

I felt sickened that my dear friends had been subject to such racist treatment. Yet they were the ones who apologised to me! They were sorry, I shouldn’t worry, it happened all the time. I’d had no idea…

In a country where nobody bats an eyelid if I sit with a group of friends who are of various ethnic origins because ‘Australia is multi-cultural’, my Aboriginal friends get treated like this almost daily.

Image by Holger Leue

I think of all the history we aren’t taught. Of the massacres and incarcerations and rights violations of Aboriginal people. I’d never known about them. We were never taught them at school. It was never discussed within our homes. For me this history hadn’t even existed. Until one day when I had a visceral introduction to that suffering.

I remember being at a waterhole in country Queensland many years ago. As I sat beside that tranquil water, I was gripped with stomach cramps so bad that I lay down on the earth, wretched with pain. To my mind came a brutal psychic vision and a knowing. I saw Aboriginal families writhing and dying after ingesting dampers (breads) laced with poison, and drinking from this waterhole, also poisoned. Could it be true? Surely, no! I researched local history later, and my vision was confirmed. It was well documented. And this type of poisoning was common. I began to dig around, and the more I looked the more I found. Atrocities. Injustices. Not just in our early days of settlement either. This racist treatment of Australia’s First Nation Peoples still goes on today.

How can I celebrate Australia Day with pride if I cannot also acknowledge these deep stains of injustice and cruelty? If I cannot acknowledge the pain and suffering of my indigenous friends and their families and ancestors.

How can we grow as a nation if we are unwilling to acknowledge and accept that there is a darker past upon which our nation has been built? How can we hold our heads high if this inequality is still entrenched?

I love my country. But today I’m filled with mixed emotions, not a need for celebration. I’m happy for all those who choose to celebrate. We live in a beautiful country. A lucky country. Lucky for some. Lucky for me. But while an entire cohort of our nation – our First Nation peoples – can’t know that same fortune, and while our planet is falling into ruins around us, it’s a hollow day for me.

With much love, Nicole ❤ xx

First Light, Byron Bay, by paul (dex) from vagabondish.com

PS – If you want to feel more connected to the earth, and you’re ready to make conscious and aware choices about your life so that you can live more intuitively and with more love and kindness then my Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle can help with that. It will help you to connect with and explore Earth Energies, Ancestor Energies, your Solar Plexus energies and personal power, and the Stardust Energies. There is over an hour’s worth of Guided Meditations and a 38-page workbook. The workbook holds specific instructions for using the four guided meditations, as well as journalling activities and reflection/awareness exercises.

The material in the Stardust Connection Meditation Bundle can be used at any time over the next four years, and beyond. My intention with this bundle is to help you become confident in your direction, your intuition, and your contribution to the unfolding history of the world and humanity. To access the bundle or to learn more about it go to my store or click on this link.