Happy Australia Day!

The Australian Flag

Today is Australia Day, a celebration of the day that saw the landing of the First Fleet of British ships in 1788 on our shores and the establishment of the first European ‘colony’ at Port Jackson (now Sydney). For many Australians it is the perfect excuse to get together with friends and family for a BBQ and a few cold ones (beers), especially when we all get the day off 🙂 After a couple of days of heavy rain the worst was expected for Australia Day but the weekend has been perfect for spending time outdoors, if not a little too hot. We had our celebration yesterday, a small gathering of our neighbours in a park at the end of our street, the obligatory game of street cricket and plenty of nibbles to eat and cold drinks filling the esky. In recognition of one of the most popular Australian public holidays I thought you might like to learn a little more about our vast and fascinating country so I’m sharing a few articles filled with interesting (or not) facts and stories.

42 surprising facts about Australia

26 odd things about Australia

88 Crazy things about Australia

Top 10 unusual facts about Australia

Happy Australia Day!

My Australia Day

Australia Day is a day where Australians get together and celebrate the good things about our nation and being Australian. The date for Australia Day, January 26, was chosen because it is the anniversary of the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet from England in 1788. On this day, many Australians join their family, friends and communities for a BBQ, picnic in the park or a game of cricket at the beach, it is a National holiday and if the date happens to fall on a weekend then we get an additional day off to make the most of the event. This year Australia Day was on a Sunday (so I’ve got today off work) which for me, started like any other Sunday with time spent at our local shelter, cleaning up after puppies and dogs, getting lots of kisses and cuddles and taking the dogs out for a bit of exercise. At the moment I have a couple of favourites at the shelter, but there is one particular fellow called Curly whom I absolutely love, he is a British Bulldog/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross (apparently) and he is loud, barking at everyone he sees and sadly, people find it off-putting and interest in this gorgeous guy is minimal. Curly has a huge grin, is a wriggle butt, a snuggler and a kisser, once you get past the barking and spend some one-on-one time with him it is almost impossible not to love him so my mission (when I am there) is to get him out of his kennel and walking where people can see the other side to this gorgeous little man. Surprise, surprise, I also take lots of photos of him to share on social media 🙂

Our two black dogs certainly didn’t miss out on the fun of Australia Day, once the heat of the day had passed we loaded them into the car and headed off to the lake for a walk and a (dogs only) swim. The border of the lake has an excellent walking path, rough 4 kilometres in distance, and off leash park, plenty of outdoor gym equipment as well as BBQ areas and playground equipment for children to enjoy. Being Australia Day, every man and their dog was out and about, the carpark was almost full and a variety of activities were being undertaken by the lake including kite flying. I’m not keen on the off leash area and Maxi doesn’t always react well to other dogs after the initial sniff and greet, instead we redirected our pooches to the water’s edge where they sniffed the rocks and reeds, scratched in the sand and paddled in the shallow water until it was time to go home. As we walk to the car we pass by the remnant of someone else’s Australia Day celebration, careless people had expressed their ‘Aussie pride’ by spray painting a rude gesture on an old lounge and leaving it for someone else to dispose of, this thoughtless and often aggressive patriotism is a side to Australia Day that bothers me and one that has been all too prevalent over the last 10 years. Regardless of the blight on the landscape, spending time together at the lake was a lovely end to the day, I stood and took photos of the setting sun while Bundy pulled on the lead in pursuit of a scent, Maxi was grinning like a fool and the husband stood by, rattling the keys in his pocket, his hint for me to hurry up and put the camera away.

A feeling of déjà vu

It is raining, heavy, constant rain that leaves you wondering if it will ever stop. At the moment there is a choir of frogs in the yard, they are almost louder than the rain falling on the tin roof of our outdoor area and at times it can be deafening.

With two days of solid rain and 6 or 7 more days of wet weather predicted it leaves me feeling as though we’ve been here before, only 12 months ago 75% of Queensland was under water including suburbs of our capital city, Brisbane. Already roads are flooded and with predictions of another 200mm to fall it must be quite frightening for the people who lost loved ones and homes in the floods of 2011. There are still those idiots risking their lives and the lives of others by attempting to drive through flood waters, already 3 people have had to be rescued from their car despite warning signs erected all over the state.

Photos taken during the last 24 hours of rain: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/photogallery/queensland/severe-weather-hits-southeast-queensland-20120124-1qf10.html

With Australia Day celebrations scheduled for Thursday it is unlikely to be the usual day at the beach, playing cricket and enjoying a barbeque. Undercover barbeques prove extremely popular at this time and at least you don’t have to worry too much about flies or sunburn. Think I’ll stay home, maybe catch up with friends for a coffee and take the dogs for a walk between showers of rain, it will be nice to not have to go to work regardless of what the weather is like 🙂

Rain falling in our backyard
A wet and rainy day