What it means to us, to be Australian.
Image: Founders Tahli and Sage with their mum, Denise, at Uluru.
As the year begins, we thought we'd reflect on what it means to us, as founders of an Australian business, to be Australian.
"I actually find it hard to summarise what it means to be Australian, it's a loaded question. But for me I suppose it's; vast, encompassing and excluding, sensitive, brilliant, lucky, proud, multicultural, spacious and special.
I must admit though, our history does makes me cringe. Although that inspires me to help bring about change in our open country and make it a better moving forward. Less racism, more independence, more stability and being better on relying on just us as a country. It also makes me want to make up for what was done by learning about our indigenous land owners and allow them to teach us about the true Australia.
There's a youth that comes with being "Aussie", I believe, because we are so young as a Nation in the modern world. Which is exciting because it does mean there is such opportunity for us all now, to shape the countrymen we are, to better establish what we stand for, what we produce, how we represent ourselves.
We truly are so luck to be "Big Island" we are because we can control so much other countries can not. We are beyond lucky for our resources, wealth, support, land, developments.
After the crazy year of 2020 we have learnt so much more about that luck in some sense, but also about our potentially risky reliance on foreign trade. Something I would love to see us turn to each other to help solve. Bring back more Aussie production, home grown, home sold. A total ecosystem of it's own that I do believe we can have. The demand and understanding of which just needs to come from every individual. To drive a need for 'Aussie Made' and 'Aussie Grown'. To support Australian owned companies where the workforce is right here, in our backyard. Where the materials are being sourced right here, in our backyard. "
For me, being an Australian is a huge part of my identity. It's my home, both physically and spiritually.
I spent a large part of my late teens and twenties travelling and living overseas. I had an unquenchable thirst to see the world, although, always found that no matter where I had drifted, I always felt so proud to say I was an Aussie and to come home. I always felt so lucky to be able to come back to where I was born, where the land is sparse, the oceans are beautiful and the air is clear. I feel so incredibly lucky to have been born into the privilege we experience in Australia. Having access to an incredible healthcare system, some of the best produce in the world, financial support if times are tough. To live feeling safe and secure. I'm acutely aware that so many across the world don't live with these privileges, and for that, I am grateful every single day.
The notion of this gratitude was completely amplified during 2020. Don't get me wrong, we endured incredibly hard lockdowns in Melbourne, that felt to go on forever. And whilst we had governments and politicians that made mistakes in dealing with the unknown beast that was Covid-19, we also had a government that cared most about our health. The lockdowns were long and gosh did I miss my family, but I felt so secure knowing that my family were all healthy and well, and not having their lives put at risk by a government that didn't act. We were supported by a free, incredibly good, healthcare system if we did happen to fall ill. We had roofs over our heads, and food on our tables. We had the absolute privilege of being able isolate, with spacious rooms and comfortable beds.
The news that international travel is off the cards for likely, years to come, was initially a shock. As someone who loves to explore the world we live in, it was an upheaval of my usual annual plans. Australia is so incredible diverse, rich and beautiful, and now we have the perfect reason to throughly explore it. What a wonderful silver lining.
The celebration of Australia Day is something that doesn't sit comfortably with me. I feel our history of colonisation is ugly and painful. So many wrongs have been committed, and I believe we are so far from setting those right. I have such deep respect for the traditional owners of Australia, their culture and history. As I write this, I am pregnant with my first child. I look forward to my journey as a mother educating my child on the beauty and awe of the indigenous, as I truly believe that change comes from education. Hopefully our future generations can grow up admiring those our ancestors stole from, and working as best they can to reconcile those wrongs. #ChangeTheDate.
Being a man of colour in Australia has brought many challenges throughout my life. Although it's been hard at times, I feel we need to stay positive and believe in the multicultural society that we have and embrace it.