Monday, April 28, 2008

Australian Holidays

From what my mates around here tell me, Australia has two major civic holidays. The first, Australia Day (on January 26), sounds like it could be the Australia equivalent of our own Independence Day. It certainly is a day of celebration, complete with fireworks and perhaps some prawns on the barbie. (Prawns=shrimp: they don’t say “shrimp” here. They also don’t drink Foster’s. Or Yellow Tail (very much).)


But Australia Day can’t be an independence day because Australia is not independent. For some time people in the country have discussed becoming an independent republic of some sort, but right now, they’re still a British commonwealth, complete with a governor-general appointed by the Queen who “oversees” the governance of the country. (With a few pretty spectacular exceptions, in the modern era the post has been an appointment of decorum with no real power per se.)

No, Australia Day remembers instead the occasion of the country’s founding. It was on January 26, 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip guided the First Fleet of eleven ships all the way around the world from Great Britain to Australia. (I know I’ve written about this before, but if you haven’t already check out on this map just how far they traveled without a single ship lost. It’s amazing.)

So that’s Australia Day. The other major civic holiday of Australia, which occurred just last Friday, April 25th, is Anzac Day.

The question is, what is an Anzac? Email me your answers at The funniest and most creative I will put up in my next blog. (No fair googling.)


(Really, it is a Barbie, "Barbie Fairytopia Dandelion Doll". Which is a great name, because when it comes to Barbies, my nephew Jack loves to pop the heads right off.)

PS Speaking of Barbie, I found this great photograph online. It's called "Barbie Fan", and it's by a guy named Paul Dzik.

Dzik has a whole portfolio online. Check it out; some spectacular shots.