History, it is said, is written by the victors. Yet, the vanquished also have a story to tell.
“Australians all let us rejoice, for we are one and free,” the victors sing – the first two lines of the Australian National Anthem.
Yet, we are not “one and free”. We remain as divided as we were on 26th January 1788 when Governor Arthur Phillip stepped ashore, raised the British flag at Sydney Cove and declared that the land and everything in it, including the Indigenous people, were owned and ruled by a king who lived on the other side of the world.
To establish a permanent settlement in the presence of ongoing preoccupation was an audacious act displaying a right-to-rule posture and would, today, be seen as the opening gambit of an invasion.
This land, Australia, home to Aboriginal peoples for more than sixty thousand years, is now a land shared by those Indigenous peoples and those who have come from many lands, making Australia one of the most multicultural nations in the world. That is now fait accompli – the clock cannot be turned back, and nobody suggests that all non-Indigenous Australians should pack up and leave. What we must do is quite simple – we must learn to live together.