The Australia Day message of respect & reflect by Lucca, School Captain at Highfields Secondary College was my personal highlight of the day, beautifully articulated words spoken with such respect and conviction.
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WHAT DOES AUSTRALIA DAY MEAN TO ME?
Good morning, my name is Lucca Coutts, college captain of Highfields State Secondary college.
The meaning of Australia day is forever changing to me. When I was younger, it meant having a BBQ and a thong throwing competition with the neighbours. It meant community. Until 2018, it meant spending the day listening to Triple J’s hottest 100 with my dad. And now, the meaning of Australia day has changed once again. Before being asked to write this speech, I’d never really thought about what Australia Day means to me.
With all the controversy and conflicting emotions surrounding the date January 26th, it’s hard to say what today means to me. So, I’m instead, using this time to reflect on what this country means to me everyday. When I think of what Australia means to me, in 2021, it means safety. With the current issues encompassing the world; serious political developments and a global health emergency, I feel very fortunate to be an Australian.
Immigration always has been and always will be a large part of Australia’s identity and my own. My grandmother moved to New Zealand from Wales as a child and many years later, arrived in Australia with her family of 5. On my mum’s side, my grandfather moved from England to New South Wales in 1957 at the age of 8. He lived in a shack with no running water or electricity, walls built out of sugar bags, a tin roof and a dirt floor. When I asked him what Australia means to him he said; “Australia is a country where it’s possible for every person to achieve their dream, everybody’s got the chance to have a successful future.”
Doing some research on the history of Australia Day, 53% of people now consider Australia day as just another public holiday. I believe the number will only continue to increase and Australia day will lose meaning unless future generations are educated on the significant history of Indigenous Australians. Like Christmas being a day of family, I think Australia day should be a day of mateship; celebrating and commemorating with fellow Australians. We must build a new Australia day, learn a new Australia day and teach a new Australia day.
I think, as a nation, we are becoming more tolerant and accepting of all cultures, religions, sexualities, and race. In this last year alone, we have gathered strength from isolation, made new connections, and learnt to embrace change. We need to continue on this path towards unity for all Australians and insist upon honoring the first owners of this beautiful land we all call home.
(Lucca’s speech has been shared with permission)
Australia Day Citizen of The Year
Sue Scanlan was announced the Highfields Australia Day Citizen Of The Year
Cr Megan was the guest speaker on the day.
Leonie & Nat from Cabarlah Ladies Day won Highfields Community Group
Cabarlah Ladies’ Day was imagined by Leonie Brassey and Natalie Fogarty in 2016
Cabarlah Ladies’ Day is a fun girls day out to enjoy lovely company, stalls, raffles and a fashion parade and incredible guest speakers who take us on a journey or laughter and tears.