What Does it Mean to be Australian – In Conversation with Major Andrew Craib

Major Andrew Craib is the General Manager for Client Information and Contract Services. Whilst being born and raised in Australia, Andrew’s background is that of an Anglo-Australian with Scottish ancestry.

We had a conversation with Andrew and asked him the following questions:

Q: What cultural background do you, or your family, identify as?

My parents and grandparents are all Scottish, however I was born in Australia (Western Australia). I probably never thought to much of this and would have always said I was Australian, until I had an opportunity for an extended visit to Scotland last year. There is something about being on the land of your descendants. The aligning of culture you have been exposed with as it is demonstrated in each encounter with people as you interact. The generosity of hospitality even from strangers as they follow that which is understood within their own culture. One of inclusion to all people’s.

Q: What is your most favourite place to visit in Australia?

This becomes an almost impossible one to answer as I have travelled a fair bit of Australia and there are so many wonderful places. If I were to pick a couple it would be the brilliant white beaches of southern Western Australia and the complete contrast of the Grampians in Halls Gap with all the rugged outcrops and great walking trails.

Q: What does it mean, to you, to be Australian?

I have often thought of Australia to be a melting pot of many, many cultures brought together enriching one another in the sharing of customs, food, etc. I have thought much about the “lucky country” tag with good health care, reasonable employment opportunities, the spirit of looking out for each other. Which translates to a sort of responsibility to ensure others have this same opportunity. That people are looked after, included, supported and encouraged to live out their dreams.

Q: What makes you proud to be an Australian?

Two things stand out for me, reflecting upon our troops and the mateship often formed in looking out for each other with a bit of a larrikin spirit thrown in. Secondly, whilst in fundraising for a few years I found that Australians got behind those who were experiencing tough times and gave that bit more as they sought a means of trying to make a difference for others doing it tough, I love this!

Q: What is one thing you would like to change about Australia?

I think in general terms there has been a turning of the tide from the public when considering the circumstances of people seeking asylum & refuge and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. I would want to see much more of this and especially from a social policy perspective. A focus on inclusion, generosity, truth, voice, freedom and LOVE for ALL people in ALL things.

Q: Do you know the Aboriginal name of the area you live in?

The land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. However I was born on the land of the Pindjarup clan of the Nyoongar (Noongar) people (Western Australia).

Q: Do you think Australia Day should be celebrated on January 26?

No! I think we need to re-evaluate this in light of truth telling, understanding the true history of this country and establishing honour and respect for our First Nations people of the land. I believe there may be a time where we might celebrate what it is to be Australian, together, with focus on our First Nations people’s as well as being inclusive of all contributions from people living in this country, however the current celebrations should cease.

*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Salvation Army

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