Wingham High School captains and joint winners of the 2016 Wingham Rotary Young Achiever of the Year award, Grace Callaghan and Jai Harrison.THIS Australia Day the captains of Wingham High School, Grace Callaghan and Jai Harrison, who were jointly awarded the Young Achiever of the Year award, were asked to deliver speeches in the Australia Day ceremonies at the Wingham Town Hall. Their speeches are reproduced below.
Good morning everyone. My name is Grace Callaghan, and I am a school leader of Wingham High, alongside my fellow captain Jai Harrison. Both of us were asked to talk to you all on what Australia Day means to us.
With so many strong emotions surrounding this day, it is hard to gather your own opinion. So I simply thought, “what does this country mean to me? What has it given to me? What is special about this country?”
Australia is an incredible, colourful and diverse country. It has given, and will give me and others like me endless opportunities.
Australia Day is a day to celebrate Australia’s qualities and achievements as a nation. It is also a day to rejoice in the amazing honour that we are all given – to be Australian.
In my eyes, an Australia is someone who loves this country. They love the land, the cultures and the ever expanding family who inhabit it. Australia is blessed with a wide range of cultures, all of which help to improve our country and create a positive environment.
It is important to remember, however, that for some, Australia Day is not a day of celebration, but of remembrance and mourning.
Acknowledging the traditional custodians of this land, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, is crucial in advancing our country and ensuring every Australian is able to celebrate this day.
Without the knowledge and guidance of these people, the first Australians, our country would not be the same.
Today we must celebrate our rich heritage and simultaneously give our respects to the first owners of our beautiful country.
On this country are a collection of unique climates, from lush rainforests to sandy deserts, pristine beaches, country towns, big cities and everywhere in between. We have in these diverse climates some of the most amazing flora and fauna of the world. We must recognise the amazing landscape and conserve it for future Australians, as it is such a crucial part of this country.
Today, as we chuck on our Australian flag themed clothes and head to the beach, cook up some snags, or play a game of cricket with our family, we must remember the true meaning of Australia Day.
This is what Australia Day means to me. To each of you it may mean something completely different. But that is the beauty of Australia – our ability to all believe different things, yet come together as one nation.
If we continue to accept each others’ differences and work for that strong mateship we are so renowned for, we can create a country that all Australians past, present and future can be proud of.
Thank you and happy Australia Day.
Good morning and happy Australia Day to you all. My name is Jai Harrison and I am proud to represent my school, Wingham High School, through my captaincy along with Grace Callaghan.
When I was asked to write a speech about what Australia Day means to me, I instantly thought of a family barbie by the beach, followed by a game of cricket. But it’s much more than that.
What makes someone an Australian? Is it having a barbecue? Is it having an accent? Or is it that we do or don’t do that defines us as Australians? And that is why we have a wide range of cultures that permeate Australia who I will gladly call Australian, because they are contributing to the country in a positive way.
That, to me, makes them Australian.
While Australia Day is a day to spend with your friends and family on the beach having a barbie, it is also a day on which we celebrate the many great things that our country gives us.
There are many mixed emotions surrounding Australia Day. It should be recognised that for some it is seen as Invasion Day. So today we not only celebrate, but we mourn and promote further reconciliation.
Australia Day is a day on which we recognise the unique status of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are the traditional custodians of the lands on which we stand.
We must help educate the people of Australia to help them get a better understanding of the history of the country and the importance of the contributions made by Indigenous Australians. In doing that we create a brighter future for everybody… and only when ALL Australians are accounted for can we call today Australia Day.
Australia Day is a day on which we celebrate the incredible, colourful and vibrant natural habitats that provide homes for thousands of unique animals that thrive only in Australia.
Today we can recognise the beauty of the land which we must conserve for future generations.
Australia Day, to me, is much more than a snag on a barbie. To me it is a mixture of celebration, reconciliation, multiculturalism and mourning. And on top of that, a snag on the barbie!
So, while today people around Australia will come together to remember the past, it is also a day to crank up Triple J’s Hottest 100 and have a game of cricket.
There is a mixture of happiness and sadness present in Australia’s past… but there will always be the underlying spirit of optimism and the strong bond between friends we call mateship.
And Aussies will go beyond all boundaries to protect each other and to preserve this mateship.
So everybody have a great day and always remember the true history of Australia and how it can help the future.
I can proudly say I’m Australian, and if we keep playing our cards right, future generations will continue to say the same thing.
Thank you and happy Australia Day.
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