I am a descendant of a First Fleet convict man and his convict wife, who arrived in the British colony in what is now Australia 13 years after him. I would not exist if they had not met here.
The British had a history of colonising countries other than their own but this time they had travelled halfway around the globe to claim land that was not theirs for their King.
This country was already inhabited by the Indigenous population and had been for more than 60,000 years.
For many years, I lived on the land of the Burramattagal people, a clan of the Darug. I now live on the land of the Gundungurra people.
I cannot support what the British did to those existing populations and what subsequent generations of governments have done (and are still doing) to suppress their descendants. It is our country’s shame.
That’s why I struggle with this date – 26 January, the day the British claimed this land for a foreign King – as Australia Day.
This is my quilt, Girt, made years ago in the colours of this country – the ochre and red of the outback, the green of the rainforests and the blue of the sea.
My sense of country is embedded in me. I feel it deeply, this love of my place. Quietly, intensely – it is an intrinsic part of who I am and how I live. I am grateful for every day I live in this imperfect country, Australia.