[Editor: An article on the celebration of Foundation Day, when the colony of New South Wales was founded. Published in the Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser, 26 January 1864.]
[The return of the 26th January]
The return of the 26th January, reminds us again of what may be regarded as one of the most important events in connection with Australia history — on THIS DAY SEVENTY-SIX YEARS AGO, the English first took possession of what was then a terra incognita, but now the most important colonial possession of the British Crown, and probably destined to play no inconsiderable part in the future history of the, Southern hemisphere.
New South Wales claims precedence as the first in order of establishment, although the palm of pre-eminence must be awarded to Victoria, the history of which is doubtless without a parallel in the World’s history. We ought not, however, to ignore the claims of New South Wales upon the gratitude of all the Australian colonies, to whom she has been the pioneer, and from whose experience they have, perhaps, derived their sources of strength.
The various struggles that have marked these seventy-six years, form one of the most interesting episodes in colonial history, and can only be justly appreciated by those who have made themselves acquainted with those events which have transformed the necessary rigid rule of the infant colony into a wide and expanded State, enjoying all the advantages of a free and constitutional Government.
The fiery trial through which the colony has past, encourage the hope that while enterprise and the introduction of new blood call for continual expansion, she will ever be found foremost in conserving those rights and privileges which from time to time have been conceded to her as the result of the labours of men who often stood alone in the front of the battle, on the side of right against the might of wrong. Such champions, alas, are but few in any country — and their worth is unfelt or appreciated until distance has thrown an halo around the time in which they lived; then when the trifles of the day and party feeling have passed away, they become great and illustrious, and form the foot prints of history from which the discouraged worker in the labour of human progress may take heart again.
The celebration of Foundation Day, affords an opportunity to the thoughtful for reflection, and scope for the development of that feeling of the importance of “the land we live in,” which is so necessary to cherish and strengthen those patriotic impulses without which any state, however wealthy, is but poor. We have but few such occasions unhappily in the colony — the hard grind of colonial existence is not very favourable to such periods of repose.
Utility in its lowest forms seems to be most popular, although perhaps the cultivation of the highest feelings of which our nature is susceptible is after all most worthy of regard and most redolent of the utile.
We happily make Foundation Day a day of rejoicing, and very right to do so. As a colony, we have much to afford pleasure as compared with the Old World — our resources of material comfort are immense — hunger and penury are unknown — labour is abundant, food is cheap, and while our abundance should lead us to chastened feelings towards those who are suffering from the wants of these things, we should not forget gratitude to Him who has given the colony of New South Wales all these things richly to enjoy.
We congratulate our readers upon the appointment of the regatta for the Foundation Day — the pleasing associations connected with such exhibitions, are highly conducive to mutual good feeling, while the competition among the competitors, will do much to improve the style and build of our river craft, a matter of great importance to all who are shut up to the river as their mode of communication.
We hope AEolus will favour us with propitious gales, and for the sake of the competitors as well as the lookers-on, give us plenty of wind.
Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW) Tuesday 26 January 1864, page 2
Aeolus = in Greek mythology, the keeper of the winds, also regarded as the god of the winds
terra incognita = (Latin) “unknown land”; an undiscovered, unexplored, or unknown area, land, region, or territory; in common usage, may also refer to an unexplored field of knowledge
utile = useful
[Editor: Corrected “developement” to “development”.]