“Australians all let us rejoice
For we are young and free
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
Our home is girt by sea:
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare,
In history’s page let every stage
Advance Australia fair,
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.”
So goes the first verse of our Australian national anthem. It seemed fitting to start this post off with the anthem because we’ve just finished celebrating Australia Day weekend here.
The time of year when BBQs abound, families hit the beach, we have thong throwing and sand sculpture contests, cricket and tennis is all you can see on television, and every man, his Holden and his dog is proudly wrapped in the Australian flag.
For me, Australia Day involved lying around on the sand and under the trees at our local harbour, listening to the free concert, watching the squealing kids throwing themselves in the ocean, while too cool teens paraded their wares in flag bikinis, low slung board shorts, huge sunglasses and an Australian flag draped across their shoulders.
Bunny entertained and surprised us as we walked to the beach by singing the anthem, which I had no idea he even knew. Obviously the ridiculous rates I pay for his pre-school are paying off in some way. I was mighty impressed I can tell you. He’s not even 5 and I know 40 year olds who barely know the lyrics beyond a mumble.
Australia Day – January 26th – is our national holiday because it celebrates the day Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove in 1788.
For this reason, the celebration can be a bit of a sore point for our Aboriginal community, who feel this date represents an invasion of their land.
Many Aboriginals do celebrate Australia Day as you can see with the red, black and yellow Aboriginal flag in this picture. But others feel we need another date to celebrate as a complete nation. Personally I can’t see that happening.
For most of us though, Australia Day is a day to get together with friends and family. to drink beer and eat sausage sandwiches, to celebrate our diversity, and wonderful, sun drenched lifestyle, while saying “G’day” to perfect strangers who set up their picnics next to ours.
We finish the day with an awesome fireworks display and most of us fall into bed with a smile on our face and try not to think of the hang-over and sunburn we shall surely have tomorrow.