January 22, 2011

Australia Day - 26 January

I'm sure that most countries have a day that they celebrate the birth of their nation, or simply celebrate their nationality. We Aussies put asside 26 January and take great delight in being as Aussie as possible by doing Aussie activities. The most iconic Aussie activity would have to be:
  • a barbecue;
  • at the beach;
  • when we cook sausages or steak; and
  • where we play cricket or footy
Sure there are lots of other things we do such as swimming; playing games at the park; going to the movies; watching the footy; and for some poor beggars ... going to work! (While 26 January is a national holiday and most shops close down for the day, there are still many workplaces where Australia Day is simply another working day. )

Author: Hedwig Storch
I remember when Paul Hogan's advertisement promoting Australia by "Putting another shrimp on the barbie" was aired in the 1980s. 

"Shrimp!" I thought to myself at the time. "We call them prawns not shrimps! And I've never put a prawn or a shrimp for that matter onto a barbecue of any description in my life, nor seen anyone else do it."

When I was growing up, a barbecue was for the cooking of red meat, or even chicken under duress, but never seafood! Who were those people trying to fool? A prawn on a barbecue was simply not a regular iconic Aussie image, but this was the one that was promoted to other countries and one which has stuck in the minds of many foreign visitors even to the present day. I always imagined the confusion on tourists faces attending an Aussie barbecue and waiting for the non-existent shrimps to appear.

There are a lot of iconic Aussie images from the koala (which is not a bear at all) and the kangaroo, through to the Sydney Opera House and Uluru. But I don't think that we can pinpoint an icon for the true blue Aussie person any more. 

During the past 50 to 60 years, there have been so many changes that what was considered a typical Aussie bloke or sheila 50 years ago, is now so far removed from the truth that if we were to meet a typical Aussie from that time, they would seem quite alien to us. Yes, the humour is still there, but more sophisticated; yes the roughness is still there but only in a smaller percentage of the population; and yes the laid-back attitude is still there, but we have now become one of the hardest working nations in the world.
Source: http://flickr.com/photo/

Possibly the only thing that hasn't changed about we Aussies is the "help your neighbour" attitude which has been evidenced through our recent flood disasters.

Good on ya Aussies!
Have a great Australia Day on 26 January!

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