When I was a child, Australia Day passed in the middle of the summer holidays with very little notice taken... in fact, the holiday was on the nearest Monday, making a long weekend of it back in those days. I had never seen anyone wave flags, organise barbeques or wear nationalistic clothing. Even when I arrived back in Australia for good, in 1991, it was a very "low key" event.
Somehow, in the last few years the day has become quite a big celebration for some, a day of mourning for others and there seems to be a day of embarassed discomfort for many. It is called "Australia Day" officially, but also "Invasion Day" or "Survival Day" by others.... and there is always some discussion about whether the 26th January should be the national day at all. The day commemorates the arrival of the first fleet of eleven ships at Sydney Cove in 1788, and the proclamation of the British territory on Eastern Australia. Of course this went on to become a penal colony and eventually Sydney city.
(Proclamation Day in South Australia is December 28th, commemorating the proclamation of this colony in 1836.)
Another suggestion has been December 3rd to commemorate the Eureka Stockade and its heroes.... who were defeated... but then, Australians seem to have a number of defeated heroes, from the Swaggie of Waltzing Matilda fame or the Diggers at Gallipoli.
In our council area, as in most others, there was a commemoration of the day at a flag raising ceremony and a breakfast. The flag was raised at Hewett this morning, watched by an assortment of local residents, council members and staff and the local church population who prepared the food. Here the Mayor looks on while a young man raised the defaced blue ensign with southern cross and commonwealth star. With her back to me is the woman who did almost all of the organisation... I'm sure she's relieved that it all went according to plan.
These celebrations often include citizenship ceremonies, though we didn't have any new citizens this time.
The cricket is on television, so I'll be watching Australia and Pakistan play a day/night game at the Adelaide Oval. This is a one day game rather than the serious five day events that we were watching before Christmas.
The garden looks very dry. Though notice that some plants are much more stressed by the heat than others... tomatoes wilt badly when the eggplants are looking supser healthy. I think that the choice of varieties of plants will be much more important from now on.
I really love the eggplant flowers also. They are beginning to set fruit.
PS I found this after I'd loaded this post, but I think it adds a lot... it's a post from Kate at Hills and Plains Seedsavers, here, especially the bit about "you know you're Australian when"... enjoy.