‘Straya Day


A happy cold and rainy Australia Day to you, mates.

Australia Day is one of the most celebrated public holidays Down Under. Always falling on 26 January (or, January 26th for my American readers), the date signifies the landing of the First Fleet in Sydney in 1788. For that reason, it is a controversial day for many. My expat blogging compatriot, Cosette over at Stumble Down Under posted a good piece explaining why some call the day Invasion Day, and why there is a move to have the date changed. It’s well worth a read.

Typically, Australia Day is all about being outdoors – ceremonies, boats, BBQs, and the beach. The weather over the weekend was classic Australian summer, scorching and blazing blue. We were living at the pool. Overnight, a storm blew in, and I woke up to a shivering cold house, as we’d left the windows open the night before. It rained most of the day, and I was decked out in long sleeves. It hardly felt like Australia Day at all.

photo 2 (1)Hushpuppy and I did manage to get some celebrating in. We spent the morning at our leisure centre’s pool, where they were having an Australia Day BBQ. We even had snacks of sausage sangers from the sausage sizzle, and you don’t get much more Aussie than that (a “sanger” is slang for sandwich, and if often refers to grilled meat slapped unceremoniously between two pieces of white bread, upon which you slather your own ketchup – and by ketchup, of course, I mean “tomato sauce” or BBQ sauce). During Hushpuppy’s nap, I whipped up a batch of Anzac biscuits as a treat for friends in our complex who just had a baby, and another friend and I went for a visit to welcome one of the littlest Australians.

We made an effort, but this year’s Aussie Day celebrations probably weren’t one for the memory books (except visiting the 3-day old baby – that’s always worth remembering). I did, however, have my first Australia Day (2011) heavily in mind this year. It was such a special celebration and welcome to Australia. Though I’d been here for several months, it was one of the first times that I understood how amazing Sydney can be when it gets into party mode. It was also the first time I thought much about becoming a citizen in future years. There’s a little anecdote in my blog post about how I tell myself that I need to learn the anthem for when I became a citizen. I really wanted to get paraded  around on the citizenship boat, and though that didn’t happen, I did become a citizen recently, so this Australia Day took on special significance. I thought about the people and places and I’ve spent subsequent Australia Days with/at. I thought about my growing comfort with Australian culture. I even decided that I could grant myself the liberty of saying the very colloquial “‘Straya Day” for the first time this year.  And, I thought about the national anthem, which I was proud to know the words to on the day that I became an Aussie citizen. I’ve come a long way since my first ‘Straya Day.