Having just read the book The First Fleet by David Hill, it is amazing that our nation, as it is today, even got started. England was sending convicts from its overflowing prisons to America when America's sudden independence (on July 4th, 1776) closed that door. Other locations were discussed, with Botany Bay being a last resort. The long trip out from England was marked by frequent crises and challenges, let alone the first few years of trying to establish a colony in such tough conditions. Although intending to make peaceful relations with the local Aborigines, the arrival of the First Fleet no doubt became detrimental to these first Australians.
Reverend Richard Johnson was the chaplain of the First Fleet and he held the first church service on Australian soil on Sunday 3rd February, 1788. His sermon was based on Psalm 116:12 – "What shall I render unto the Lord for all that he has done for me?" To learn more about Australia's Christian heritage, click here.
Our nation may seem small and insignificant to many but I believe that God has a purpose for it. As Australians, let's celebrate our nation today – it's heritage, it's diversity, and it's future.