Google's Australia Day 'Google Doodle' is a powerful reminder of how we should remember today

Google's Australia Day logo: 'Stolen Dreamtime' by ACT student Ineka Voigt.

Google's Australia Day logo: 'Stolen Dreamtime' by ACT student Ineka Voigt. Photo: Ineka Voigt

While much of the media focus on Australia Day has kept to the usual "BBQ and picnics"-type celebrations, the world's most popular website has taken a more sobering and respectful approach: by reflecting on January 26's significance to Indigenous Australians and reminding the rest of the country about the true origins of this national holiday.

Today's 'Google Doodle' - the regularly rotating picture that redesigns Google's logo based on the day's significance - is an image of an Aboriginal woman sitting forlornly as children play behind her, titled 'Stolen Dreamtime'.

The artwork was designed by Ineka Voigt, a 16-year-old student from Canberra High School in ACT, in response to a competition call-out asking for submissions based on the theme, "If I could travel back in time, I would...". 

16-year-old Ineka Voigt said her Google Doodle submission was her "own little way to say sorry" to Indigenous ...

16-year-old Ineka Voigt said her Google Doodle submission was her "own little way to say sorry" to Indigenous Australians and send a message of reconciliation. Photo: Jamila Toderas

"If I could travel back in time, I would reunite mother and child," Voigt's winning submission explains on the site.

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"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 piece, selected as winner from over 24,000 submissions, was chosen by a voting panel that included ARTEXPRESS curator Leanne Carr and Aboriginal artist and fashion designer Bronwyn Bancroft.   

Discussing the piece with Canberra Times in November, Voigt said it was her "own little way to say sorry" to Indigenous Australians and send a message of reconciliation.

"It's important for us to recognise our achievements, but also look at the atrocities. I believe that the stolen generation is one of the greatest atrocities in Australia's history," she said. 

Google's decision to ditch the usual flag-waving festivities and shine a light on the true meaning of the day has quickly drawn praise from various corners of the internet. 

"It's hard to imagine a more pointed political statement - reminding non-Aboriginal Australians on Australia Day of the price that other people have paid for their privilege," wrote website New Matilda.

"If a foreign corporation can get it, why can't the Australian Government? And why can't most of the rest of our nation?"