Glenelg beach, South Australia, 26 January 2019
In other cities ‘change the date’ or ‘invasion day’ demonstrations, and counter demonstrations, disrupted this year’s Australia Day celebrations. In Adelaide, as is often the case, it was a completely different vibe. At the City of Holdfast Bay’s citizenship ceremony at Glenelg beach, a quiet revolution was underway with significant Aboriginal participation. This was not just Mayor Amanda Wilson’s speaking in the Kaurna language, but also a heartfelt Welcome to Country from Uncle Tamaru. “This is very hard for me,” he declared, but perhaps showing that the way forward may lie more in local, meaningful dialogues than in polarised activism. Change hearts, rather than dates?
But back to the proceedings of the day. It was an early start for the prospective new citizens with a barbecue breakfast by the beach, before the presentation of the Australia Day and local awards. Mercifully short addresses by a plethora of politicians, followed on from the main address from Australia Day Ambassador Dr Deane Hutton (pictured below). Deane, a presenter of the former TV science programme, The Curiosity Show, now enjoying a digital resurgence through its YouTube channel, gave an inspirational talk, combining science and personal history with a generous dose of showmanship to encourage all, and especially the new citizens, to act upon opportunities to make a better future happen.
Finally, the main act: the presentation of certificates to 79 new Australians from 23 countries. I always find this very moving. More so this year, as I was one of the 79. A flurry of media activity afterwards as the new Aussies were interviewed (including this one) or greeted by friends, family and supporters before heading off for lunches, BBQs, the beach or wherever to see out the day.
Elsewhere throughout the country, 365 citizenship ceremonies welcomed 16,201 new Australians, including a total of 12,222 in South Australia.
Channel Nine‘s coverage of Australia Day 2019, including the Glenelg ceremony: https://www.9news.com.au/2019/01/26/07/16/australia-day-2019-live-blog-australian-of-the-year-national-news-things-to-do-public-long-weekend.
Curiosity Show: http://curiosityshow.com.au.