On Australia Day, Google is giving the country a powerful reminder of the darker side of its history

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Tuesday 26 January 2016 09:50
Science and Tech

January 26th is Australia's National Day, marking the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the British in Port Jackson, New South Wales.

There are usually family celebrations, citizenship ceremonies and barbecues - but the day also marks the moment when the Indigenous people of Australia had their way of life destroyed by the colonial invasion.

Indigenous lives and voices have often been swept out of Australia's history - but today's Google Doodle has taken a political stance with an artwork that explicitly addresses the treatment of Indigenous people by whites in the country.

The artwork ‘Stolen Dreamtime’ adorning Google.com.au today was discovered by a competition, won by 16-year-old Ineka Voigt from Canberra, who said:

In response to the theme of ‘If I could travel back in time I would...', I would reunite mother and child. A weeping mother sits in an ochre desert, dreaming of her children and a life that never was... all that remains is red sand, tears and the whispers of her stolen dreamtime.

The 'Dreamtime' refers to the Indigenous Australian understanding of the world, how it came into being, and the laws of existence.

Between 1905 until the 1970s, tens of thousands of children of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander descent were forcibly removed from their families by the government and church missions in a bid to assimilate them into white society. They are known as the 'Stolen Children', and the policy is considered one of the worst atrocities of Australian history.

A woman cries as Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd delivers an official apology to Indigenous people for injustices committed over two centuries of white settlement at the Australian Parliament on February 13, 2008 in Canberra. (Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images)

Leticia Lentini, Brand and Events Marketing Manager, Google Australia, said of the Doodle:

It’s a powerful and beautiful image that is not only a brilliant artwork, but helps bring attention to the critical issue of reconciliation in Australia.

We’re proud to have it on our homepage today.

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