History is a strange business, and it's not as cut and dried as we like to think.
That was the message of Mr Cranfield, one of our history teachers at Newcastle Technical High School in 1966.
Apparently a Dutch historian called Pieter Geyl had come to the conclusion that "history is argument without end" and that each generation of historians puts its spin on the events of history, and what they meant then and mean now.
This was a far too sophisticated world view for 30 teenage boys then and, it seems, for many Australians still, including some of our political leaders.
The continuing brouhaha over Australia Day, and the actions of some local councils in declining to hold citizenship ceremonies, is nothing new. As far back as 1938 an outfit calling itself the Australian Aborigines Conference proclaimed a "Day of Mourning and Protest" on January 26 that year.
Increasing numbers of white Australians see their point - our so-called national day commemorates the beginning of the dispossession and decimation of Indigenous Australians. An "invasion day" if ever there was one.
The groundswell is building, and will not be silenced. January 26 can never be a day of national "coming together in common celebration".
What does January 26 celebrate anyway? Not the decision to establish a British colony to be called New South Wales. That happened in London in October 1786 when Captain Phillip was appointed governor-designate of the colony-to-be.
Not the arrival of the First Fleet on Australian soil. That happened between January 18 and 20, 1788. And not the formal proclamation of the new colony. That was done by Governor Phillip on February 7, 1788.
And let us not forget that it was only in 1994 that January 26 was first celebrated as a national public holiday.
A better claim for Australia's national day is January 1, the day in 1901 when the colonies federated as the Commonwealth of Australia.
But Australians were not fully in control even then. Defence and foreign affairs decisions continued to be made for us until the 1931 Statute of Westminster, which we did not even adopt until the dark days of World War II in 1942.
Some historians of Australian sovereignty take the view that it was only with the passing of the Australia Act in 1986 that we became a truly sovereign nation fully responsible for all our decisions.
Of course, there are the republicans among us who take the view that we will not be fully sovereign until the declaration of the Republic of Australia.
As things stand now, the day upon which we became one nation was January 1, 1901, but black Australians had no role to play in that, as they weren't even counted as citizens.
There is presently a public holiday called Queen's Birthday, in most states this year on June 13. That's an historical nonsense-it's the birthday of Irish poet WB Yeats and country singer Slim Dusty, but not the Queen.
The other states don't celebrate April 21 (Her Maj's actual birthday) either.
By happy co-incidence the end of May-early June marks three important days in our recognition of Indigenous Australians.
On May 27, 1967, our Constitution was changed to recognise our black sisters and brothers as fellow citizens, and on June 3, 1992, our highest court in the Mabo case put an end to the historical fairy-story that Australia was effectively uninhabited in 1788.
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Finally, on May 26, 2017, the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released by the First Nations National Constitutional Convention in Alice Springs. This statement should form the cornerstone of future formal constitutional recognition of our Indigenous fellow Australians.
My modest proposal is that we celebrate Indigenous Recognition Day on the Monday closest to June 1 each year. Anyone who wants to, can still celebrate Her Majesty's birthday on the proper day.
Re-constituting and rationalising our national holidays (no-one wants to touch ANZAC Day) would not be a "war on our history", as former prime minister Tony Abbott would have us believe. It would be sensible recognition and celebration of the really important days in the history of our whole nation, not just some parts of it.
January 26 will be tainted forever, and the sooner we whiteys accept that, the better.
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