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Byron Shire
September 18, 2021

Stan Grant on identity and Australia Day

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Stan Grant. Photo Kathy Luu.

As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reckon with our history. On January 26, no Australian can really look away. There are the hard questions we ask of ourselves on Australia Day.

Since publishing his critically acclaimed, Walkley Award-winning, bestselling memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history and the Australian dream. But Stan knows this is not where the story ends.

In this book, Australia Day, his long-awaited follow up to Talking to My Country, Stan talks about reconciliation and the Indigenous struggle for belonging and identity in Australia, and about what it means to be Australian.

A sad, wise, beautiful, reflective and troubled book, Australia Day asks the questions that have to be asked, that no-one else seems to be asking. Who are we? What is our country? How do we move forward from here?

Stan Grant will appear on all three days at Byron Writers Festival to discuss Australia Day with Professor Adam Shoemaker, vice chancellor of Southern Cross University, as well as The Ethics of Journalism with Paul Bongiorno and The Stories Embedded in Landscape with Bronwyn Bancroft, Bruce Pascoe, and Karla Dickens.

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  1. As comfortable as it is from where Australians sit, most do not see an Invasion Day as most think it is OK to sail into Sydney Harbour and just proclaim the land to be British in the name of the King of England and from that moment in 1788 that all the land before them was and is British to the bone.
    And so we groan, we groaned every year, and over the years and in 2018 or was in 2017 when the submission was dismissed by prime minister Turnbull for the Australian Constitution to be altered so the Aborigine and the indigenous be named in that great charter as the first people of Australia to form this Australian nation together with many others.
    Racism first began when the bush at Farm Cove in 1788 was pushed back and the British flag was raised and in the subsequent days or weeks the first Aborigine was shot dead, that was indeed the day there was blood on the wattle. As the months marched past many were aghast as rifle shots rang out and more and more brothers and sisters were shot dead and killed and buried in the weary times of the past. No, white man, it was not Invasion Day. So what was it?


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