Today is Australia Day . . . its the day we celebrate all things Australian.
It is also a public holiday.
We had a long discussion at work about Australia Day and what it meant to each of us . . . it was interesting as none of us like the changes we are beginning to see . . . towards being much more patriotic and nationalist, something I am not keen on as it can go a step too far. We also thought the day had turned into one large drinking party with a concert and fireworks at the end and this wasn't the real purpose of the day. This comment by Tracy Spicer summed up my views nicely (source):
And it is increasingly celebrating the worst aspects of our national character, where rather than being a day for thoughtful reflection on our history and our values, it’s starting to look more a half-witted contest to see how much meat you can eat and how much grog you can sink.
I read recently that many Australians see Australia Day (and ANZAC Day) as being more important that Christmas . . . to me this is also a worry and sad . . . it comes back to this "party" mindset that many Australia's have . . . a very superficial.
I'm not one for making a big noise about the day, I just enjoy having it off and spending it with my family. I am not into flag wave and going to cerebration's . . . does this make me anti-patriotic? We aren't even having a barbeque, but I am cooking a roast in the oven. O'dear, I' coming across as very dull and old!
What do you do? How do you see the day?
Here's a poem I liked by Banjo Paterson that I thought was excellent for Australia Day - to remember all the pioneers that worked so hard to "build" this nation.
by Banjo Paterson
They came of bold and roving stock that would not fixed abide;
There were the sons of field and flock since e’er they learned to ride;
We may not hope to see such men in these degenerate years
As those explorers of the bush – the brave old pioneers.
‘Twas they who rode the trackless bush in heat and storm and drought; ‘
Twas they that heard the master-word that called them further out;
‘Twas they that followed up the trail the mountain cattle made
And pressed across the mighty range where now their bones are laid.
But now the times are dull and slow, the brave old days are dead
When hardy bushmen started out, and forced their way ahead
By tangled scrub and forests grim towards the unknown west,
And spied the far off promised land from off the ranges’ crest.
Oh! Ye, that sleep in lonely graves by far-off ridge and plain,
We drink to you in silence now as Christmas comes again,
The men who fought the wilderness through rough unsettled years –
The founders of our nation’s life, the brave old pioneers.
A B (Banjo) Paterson