This beautiful, honest poem by Dorothea MacKellar is one of our favourites.  It paints a picture of an incredible country that is at once warm and picturesque and at the same time harsh and unforgiving.

The Local-Side team were debating long and hard about whether to celebrate Australia day or not; there are a lot of strong opinions about it and we were originally a bit reticent about coming forward on it.  But then we argued, well saying something that might be offensive or misconstrued is better than saying nothing at all.  Sometimes saying nothing can be worse than saying the wrong thing.  So we’re here to say that we love this country, we love its mix of cultures, the variety of people and food and music makes the nation vibrant.   The brutality and injustice of the past should not be forgotten and the disparity that is still perpetuated is something we need to keep fighting against.

MacKellar got it completely right when she talked about this wilful, lavish land with her beauty and her terror – it signifies a land of extraordinary things and people with a chequered past of wrongs that have not yet been righted.  Australian local community is made up of many people with different backgrounds and views, and each of them deserves a voice and respect.

Say Hi to your neighbour,

The Local Side