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!
On this day 3 years ago the hubby and I were celebrating my birthday in Paris, starting early at the Palace of Versailles and ending with a view of Paris lit up like a birthday cake. One of my most spectacular and memorable birthdays, browsing through my photos makes me smile and surprisingly I can still remember much of the detail.
Today was a quiet celebration at home with hubby and the two black dogs before heading off to work where my wonderful colleagues had organised a morning tea. A lovely day 🙂
The Palace of Versailles
Golden gates of Versailles
Gardens of Versailles
Me in the Hall of Mirrors
The Hall of Mirrors
Magnolias in bloom, Versailles
Place de la Concorde
Paris at night
The sparkling Eiffel Tower
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 🙂
Even wearing the cone of shame he is still smiling that huge staffy smile
Just look at that cute little butt!
Curly in his cone of shame
Curly’s kisses are frequent
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.
Bundy the observer
Maxi loves the water
Two black dogs together at the lake
Bundy and Maxi enjoying the water
Bogan remnants of Australia Day
The sun sets on Australia Day
On Friday I spent the day photographing the wedding of a good friend, it isn’t something I normally do because I am not a wedding photography. This I did as a favour and because the couple did not expect or want formal, studio quality photographs – if it wasn’t me taking the photos it would have been my husband and he has even less experience. I have photographed a wedding once before, but it was as a second photographer – more of a sidekick really, to a much more experience photographer who was happy to have me along.
The nerves kicked in early in the morning and hung around until the ceremony, afterwards it wasn’t so bad and that has more to do with the fact that the bridal party were wonderful, they had fun, they laughed and smiled and not once did they appear to be tired of having their picture taken. It was one of the most enjoyable, relaxed weddings I have ever been to and also one of the smallest, making it easier to get a group shot at the reception and to make sure that everyone had their chance to have a photograph taken with the happy couple.
The bride and groom already have printed copies of the shots that I’m sharing with you, they’re off on their honeymoon today and will visit family overseas so I wanted them to have something to take with them. Is wedding photography something I would want to do more often, probably not, the stress would kill me however, it is wonderful to experience such a joyful occasion and to be able to capture the moment for friends.