Slicing History: Nationhood and the Bicentennial

On January 26th Australians commemorate two hundred years of European settlement on their continent. On that morning a fleet of tall-masted ships will drop anchor in Sydney Cove in re-enactment of the arrival of the nation's founders – six shiploads of hardened convicts and three companies of disgruntled marines under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. The Bicentenary celebrations will extend far into the year. Sydney will open a new monorail and a casino on Darling Harbour. Brisbane will sponsor a Bicentennial Expo. In Canberra the Queen will dedicate a new billion dollar Parliament House. A travelling exhibition hauled by twenty-nine pantechnicons will bring icons of natural progress to every major town and city. Through television dramas, historical novels, exhibitions, pageants and re-enactments, Australians will be reminded of the heroes and great events of their brief national history.

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