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Australia Day

Happy Australia Fortnight and a bit.

Contrary to popular belief the 26th of January is not the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet. The 11 boatloads of criminals and economic migrants that began European settlement in Australia arrived at Botany Bay between the 18th and the 20th of January 1788, 2 days after the arrival of a French scientific expedition.

Thanks to the absence of a batshit crazy immigration minister at the time the boats were not prevented from landing but found Botany Bay unsuitable as a port due to the presence of French people. In one of his rare moments of sobriety Captain Arthur Phillip decided to take 2 ships up the coast looking for a more suitable place to land, leaving the remainder of the fleet in Botany Bay to indulge in their preferred pastimes of rum, sodomy and the lash.

Due to inclement weather Phillip did not arrive at Sydney Cove until the 26th of January when he rode ashore, raised the Union Jack and claimed Australia for Britain. None of the "cargo" (as the convicts were referred to) set foot on dry land until the 2nd of February. The Colony of New South Wales, which then included the entire continent, was not officially founded until the 7th of February, at which point the indigenous population were introduced to the modern concepts of civilisation smallpox and syphilis.
Now if we're going to continue to celebrate these events as our national day (rather than, say, anything achieved by actual Australians) shouldn't the public holiday run from the 18th of January to the 7th of February?

Commenting on this Blog entry will be automatically closed on March 26, 2014.

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