Australia Day marks the anniversary of the day Captain Arthur Phillip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove on the 26th January 1788. He led the fleet north into Port Jackson landing on this day in 1788 after eight months at sea. Phillip named it Sydney Cove after Lord Sydney the British Home Secretary.
More than 700 convicts (188 female), 700 merchant seamen, Royal Navy and Marine personnel and families, 209 fowls, 74 pigs, 35 ducks, 29 sheep, 29 geese, 19 goats, 18 turkeys, 5 cows, 4 stallions, 3 mares and 2 bulls disembarked from the First Fleet.
In 1787, King George III sealed Australia’s fate by declaring it Britain’s new convict colony. Being sent to Botany Bay was a severe punishment. Sentences ranged from a minimum exile of seven years to life, with various degrees of hard labour.
Australia’s national day is also an important annual opportunity to recognise the place of Indigenous Australians in our nation’s history, and to promote understanding, respect and reconciliation. We reflect on being Australian. To be “fair dinkum”, people who give everyone “a fair go” and to open our hearts in gratitude to God for all those gone before us who have provided us with freedom and peace.
There is a hero in every family, the one who goes “the extra mile”. May we be as generous as they who show us the meaning of Jesus’ words: Love one another.
God love you