It's Time to Recall Australian HistoryDecember 24, 2014

Unlike most countries, Australians not only welcome the New Year on January 1. On that same date in 1901, the Constitution of Australia came into force. The colonies became the states of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Why the need to recall? It's been taught at school, but admit it. You're not interested. So let's try a different approach. Let's do it in reverse order:

Julia Gillard became prime minister in 2010. This rather came a bit too late, but better than never. (It remains to be seen if America will have its first female president.). There would be critics, who still insist that politics is a man's world. But Gillard, who was born in Wales, proved them wrong.

Malcolm Fraser welcomed the Vietnamese refugees. In 1979, Labor Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser agreed to absorb a proportion of the Vietnamese refugees. It would be the beginning of Asian migration into Oz. Many weren't happy about it, but they forgot something. Migration dated back to the 19th century. Australia is a nation of migrants. (Most of Australia.) We project an image of a melting pot in the Southern Hemisphere, which is easier said than done. But this is the same sentiment of the settlers back then.

Allied forces landed in Gallipoli as part of World War I fighting. Movie enthusiasts have seen Peter Weir's "Gallipoli" (1981), but only due to Mel Gibson. He was one of the young soldiers who have no idea what was in store for them on the other side of the globe. Next year would mark the centenary of the fighting, which would hold little relevance to the current generation. (If only nationhood can be turned into a commodity.) How can we make the young populace relate to this somber event? Let's make them curious about it. Visit a war memorial. Attend the Anzac ceremony. Find a copy of “Gallipoli”.

John McDouall Stuart crossed the continent first. It wouldn't be hard to imagine the likes of John McDouall Stuart as reality television show contestants. They would surely love "The Amazing Race", but a different version of the game show existed during the 19th century. Much of the Australian landscape was undiscovered, and fame and fortune would await those who dared to discover it. They must come back, which was the catch. It was a dangerous undertaking, as no one knew what would be found in the Outback. But Stuart had a zest for adventure. Fame and fortune came second.

Endeavor made the first sighting of the eastern coast of Australia. There were records that showed that the Portuguese navigators were the first to see Australia, followed by the Dutch. But James Cook, who was on board the Endeavor, would claim the island for the British crown. It would be too late to think how the scenario would turn out (if the Portuguese colonised us. Or the Dutch). But let's be grateful that we were part of the Commonwealth of Nations.

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