AUSTRALIA DAY. 26 January 2024

What does Australia day mean to you?

What does “Australia Day” mean to you? I have been asked this.

The last time was 2017 on a tour.


It used to mean “football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars.”

Or this poem My Country.
“I love a sunburned country, a land of sweeping plains, of ragged mountain ranges, of drought and flooding rains. I love her far horizons, I love her jewel sea, her beauty and her terror. The wide brown land for me.” And this last verse. “An opal hearted country, a wilful lavish land – all you who have not loved her, you will not understand. Though Earth holds many splendours, wherever I may die, I know to which brown country, my homing thoughts will fly.”
Penned by Dorothea McKellar in the late 1800s.
We were going along ok then so it seemed.
There was plenty to talk about. Australia and her venomous creatures. The high incidence of kangaroos being hit on country roads. Followed by dogs and wombats. Where does Melbourne get her water from or the nightmare of our Monash Freeway in peak hours and what happened to The Westgate Bridge? Our bushfire history in the Dandenongs- in 1851 Black Thursday burned so fiercely that the glow caused terror in Melbourne where ash reportedly fell on ships in Bass Strait.
There was always Vegemite, sport, our beaches and the BIG things we are known for eg the BIG BANANA, THE BIG PRAWN, THE BIG NED KELLY. Add to this our unique rhyming slang or versions of English , reverse nicknames unfamiliar to other nations.
We were “happy little vegemites ” then. But now?
Moving forward, the last 3 years changed my observances a lot.
This is no longer the country I grew up in. I still see and feel all of the above but there are those in society who want to change us, eliminate our history. As I write this, there is news of Captain Cook’s statue being lopped. Supermarket giants who refuse to stock Australia Day items. Activists marching demanding a change to the date.
You can’t change history.
I do acknowledge our indigenous people incidentally ( I did speak of them – respectfully )- but where would we be in history if the British hadn’t arrived with the First Fleet. Who amongst us isn’t enjoying the technology and infrastructure which resulted?
The photos here I took of the truck driver unloading his goods, probably been growing vegies for generations, proudly displaying the one true flag on his truck. The simple displays in IGA (Independent Grocers of Australia) or my favourite The Reject Shop and Coles. Tried to get a flag to put somewhere “sorry all sold out!” Sold out and the CEO of Woolworths or Wokeworths having to do an humiliating backflip, now flogging snags for the barbie. ? That truck driver was delivering to W….worths!????
I think we will head to our local street tomorrow.
(I dont have a flag or a t-shirt but I did grab some Aussie serviettes and ice cube tray with kangaroo, koala and a heart shape!)

Most places are open and acknowledging this special national holiday day.

To the nay sayers I say ” Don’t get your knickers in a knot, give it a rest and throw a shrimp on the barbie.”

Pauline Campbell

I am a former Australian domestic Airline employee of 15 years to Professional Tour Guide. Recently moved from coast to country. I prefer the quiet peace and beauty of where I live currently but there is a little Gypsy in me. Travel has been my thing. Now there is writing, blogging and meditation.

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