Yes – Australia Day – public holiday, and a day everyone wears something with a flag on it. Weirdly it commemorates not independence, but the day the First Fleet landed. Aboriginals call it Invasion Day, or Survival Day.
Generally there are a bunch of events, and lots of fireworks. It was a very hot 30 degree day, and we started by heading to stand on the harbour bridge to watch the Ferrython – this is basically a race between four Sydney ferries, with lots of other boats filling the harbour. It’s pretty cool to see the harbour filled with all these boats of different shapes and sizes.
We were handed Australian flags which we dutifully carried for a while. A quick lunch, and then back to the action for an event which was a bit like the Ferrython, but not a race. It was called the Tall ships parade or something – but anyway it was a bunch more ships on the harbour. We estimated that there was a bigger turn out of ships for the Ferrython. Ah well. As Pommies we were still enjoying our very first Australia Day on Sydney Harbour.
Back in town, they had the vintage buses out – just like old Routemasters – yes of course – Pommie buses are the absolute best. We had a ride on one of those and then headed to Darling harbour for the grand finale!
This consisted of: Australian of the year award (never heard of him… Simon Mckeon), someone who came second in Australian Idol (never heard of her… Jessica Mauboy), New citizens of Australia accepting their citizenship with over the top speeches about how great it is to now be an Aussie, speech by the NSW premier – Kristina Keneally (heard of her), and general talk of how great Australia is – very patriotic. “Pommies Rule” – I shouted (not really.. 🙂 )
Capping it all off – very very excellent fireworks – best I’ve seen that I can remember. Us Pommies are really not used to having a public holiday in the MIDDLE OF THE WEEK?! That is simply not allowed in Pommie Land – I spent the rest of the week confused as to what day it was.