HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY
Written & Performed by: Luke O’Shea & Kevin Bennett
It’s pretty well known that for the last 30 years I have danced between two careers – one a touring singer songwriter and the second – a High School teacher.
The subjects I teach, Music, Art, Religion, History & Geography have always influenced and inspired me and my music – and the opportunity to share that passion and the insights gained to students and audiences around Australia – has truly given me a blessed life.
As the saying goes, “We teach best what we most need to learn” and for me I – the older I get – the more I feel a sense of loss and disappointment that we know so little about the world oldest living culture. As a history teacher I am fully aware of how little we teach of Pre-European Australian history in our school curriculum. We have 3 lessons in Year 9 that vaguely cover the First Fleet landing at Sydney Cove (January 26th 1788) – The Black Wars that followed – before brushing over the Myall Creek massacre and then quickly moving on. In comparison, we spend months going over Ancient Egypt, Medieval Europe, Chinese Dynasties, American Civil Rights Movement, The World Wars and Vietnam – but never does our full focus fall back on our own incredibly rich and diverse history – which in turn leaves us all quite vague and uncomfortable with conversations and radical movements that attempt to challenge the current status quo. So – as an educator and a passionate proud Australian – I believe that must change!
Happy Australia Day was written with Kevin Bennett (Kamilaroi) in the hope that every day Australians will at the very least, hear and learn the names of 9 iconic indigenous human beings. If they wish to take it one step further and learn a little about each of these people – that in turn will start to give a more comprehensive background of Australian history – but from another valuable perspective.
So here is a short song and video that I hope will start conversations around this country.
It is not affiliated with any political party or social movement.
Its sole purpose is to educate all Australians about our past – so we can better understand our present – and hopefully together – shape a strong, compassionate, respectful and unified future.