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Title: 26 January 1788: The Arrival of the First Fleet and the 'Foundation of Australia'
Contributor(s): Roberts, David  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2009
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Abstract: On 26 January 1988, Australia's Bicentenary day, I was among the 100 000 heat-stroked crowd crammed on the shores of Sydney Harbour, experiencing the majestic spectacle of the Tall Ships. For all the exhibition and excitement, it was a reflective occasion on which the 'national story' was revealed to be fractured and multifaceted. My outstanding memories, next to sunburn and claustrophobia, are of Aboriginal Protesters greeting the ships with shrill slogans and theatrical gestures. On the same day, in Kings Cross, a dear friends, who mischievously weaved among the crowds in a pyjama-style convict costume, ended the day badly when he was set upon and mildly beaten by a group of young Aboriginal men. While that incident was contrary to the mood of celebration, it was also somewhat emblematic of this politically and historically charged occasion. Of course, what is commemorated on 26 January is the arrival in 1788 of what later became known as 'the First Fleet'. Of the many turning points in our national story, the foundation event - European Australia's moment of original - seems an obvious, indeed inevitable, subject for commemoration. It is also the most ripe for interrogation, and most malleable to the disparate cultural and political sensitivities and interests of contemporary generations. By tracing the remembrance of the moment over time and across generations, we can chart some of the changing and conflicting ideas of Australian identity. In the case of the arrival of the First Fleet and the foundation of the European Australia, the moment is forever flavoured by certain characteristics and circumstances embedded in the event which have proved awkward to later generation of Australians. January 26 1788 is a crucial moment in Australian history both because of what happened and how it has been remembered.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Turning Points in Australian History, p. 32-47
Publisher: UNSW Press
Place of Publication: Sydney, Australia
ISBN: 9781921410567
Field of Research (FOR): 210301 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History
210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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