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Quaker by conviction, mother by default, Celticst through love, Christ follower because I once was lost but now am found...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day.

This is the Dreaming land, the land of spirit ancestors, Of campfire and corroboree, of rock art and cave painting... ©RAF 26.01.2007

On Janurary 26th 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip landed at Port Jackson, a name that thankfully got changed pretty quickly to Sydney! After months at sea my bet is that everyone on board those ships was grateful to see land, any land, even unknown land. They could hardly be expecting what they got though. Sydney in Janurary heat garbed as the 18th centurary liked to garb itself makes me wilt just thinking about it.

America's colonies were founded for religious & high falutin' reasons. Australia was founded as a jail, the best sort of jail, a long, long way from everywhere else; out of sight & for the most part, out of mind. Here's where the starving landed after being caught stealing a loaf of bread. How a so called Christian nation could so forget the basic tenets of its faith so as to take no proper regard for its poor boggles my poor little mind though it does highlight those who were truely marked with Christ's spirit ~ Elizabeth Fry, Quaker reformer for one, who was so distressed by the felon ships sitting for months in the Thames that she extended her ministry to the poor souls aboard waiting to be transported to the ends of the earth.

Having sent the convicted out here Britain failed miserably to do her research & by desperate trial & error the newcomers learnt that English farming methods did not work too well in this new land, that the seasons were topsy~turvy, that the rain could not be relied upon to fall when it should & that grazing kangaroos can mow down a growing wheat crop pretty fast ~ certainly faster than it took to grow it in the first place. The whole colony, jailers & jailed alike, very nearly starved to death before they got it worked out.

It was not an auspicious start in any way but eventually Australia decided it no longer wanted to be the dumping ground for everyone the Empire did not want. Free settlers began arriving & the things any emerging nation does began happening. The mad packed supplies & began exploring & mapping the unknown territory. Lots perished when they discovered there is a very big desert in the middle of Australia! The innovative looked for ways to make money. John MacArthur bred sheep whose wool was the best ever. He was rather a pain in the proverbial but he certainly understood sheep ~ or at least knew those who did. The greedy panned for gold.

In the too~ing & fro~ing that has since ensured between the immigrants & the lands they originated from, Australians discovered they were indeed *the Lucky Country* ~ blessed beyond measure, unique upon the face of the earth. Where else can you find hopping marsupials, egg laying mammals & birds that screech like banshees? There was never any need to make much of a song & a dance about it. Australians took it for granted that there was no better place on the face of the earth & Australia Day, squashed as it is in between Christmas & the end of the long school summer vacation, was pretty much overlooked. Recently more of a fuss seems to be being made. I'm not sure why.

So yesterday we ate scones & drank billy tea [ok, I omitted the tea drinking; I can't stand tea], ate damper & BBQ, watched the canoe racing, the thong throwing[ the other sort of thongs, remember?],watched the toad races & competed in the Australian Trivia competition ~ all good fun but in the end having a National day makes squat difference to how I feel about my country, how I feel about being Australian or what I believe as a consequence. Good excuse for a party about sums it up & there are plenty of things that should matter more.


The HoJo's said...

I still have issues with the whole 'thong' thing, I guess I shall grow out of it :o)
Mr Hojo has won awards for bowls, in another continent, I was surprised to see bowls competitions all over the place here, no flip flop throwing contests, but plenty drunk teens spoiling for and getting into fights on the foreshore.

Constance said...

It's always interesting to read about other people and their customs! I have always known that it began as a Penal Colony and last year we watched a movie about that very subject. It was based on a true story and how the prisoners were starving and a few of them actually managed to escape. I can't remember the title though.

America certainly was flooded by Colonists with ideal of freedom of religion and we had a lot of other noble principles but we also had slaves and practically eradicated our own Native Americans, all for the sake of expansion, greed and self-interests.

This Sunday we are having our Superbowl which for many people is a HUGE deal. There will be tailgate parties, lots of food, drinking beer and watching the football championship. I am particuliarly interested this year because the quarterback of one of the teams (Arizona Cardinals' Kurt Warner) is a Christian and is friends of my daughter's in-laws.

Happy Australia Day!

Homeschoolmum4Christ said...

Perhaps we need to do something for Australia Day next year. The damper and billy tea sound interesting. As for the thong throwing and canoe racing, it's a long way from here to the nearest river or beach, and we don't possess any thongs??? Sounds interesting, though.

Sandra said...

Freedom of religion meant 'a religion' and I second Constance's comment. We haven't done so well of late, either. I love tea, btw. : )

MamaOlive said...

Hmmm, I have been reading about the puritans, and the children watched "The marriage of Pocahontas and John Rolfe" the other day... But we aren't here to talk about America, are we? :-D

Australia day sounds fun. I've always wished holidays could be more spread out over the year, but I guess I take what I can get. You didn't win the trivia??? ;-)
I also just read a bit about Elizabeth Fry (my Dad has a big long biography of her); interesting lady.
Sorry I'm a bit random; it's still early AM over here.

Mrs. Darling said...

Hey did you fall off of a ferry? Where did you go?

Ganeida said...

lol. MrsD, I just fell off my mum's computer. It is so slow & had such a major meltdown when I tried to blog I haven't tried again but I'm still here lurking on everyone's blogs! :)

Hojo's: Seems like some Aussies are lots closer to the unmourned criminal element than I'm happy to associate with. Alcohol is the curse of this nation.

MamaO: I don't do numbers & no~one else on our team does dates either. Plus we had Ditz who only knew the answers to 2 rather obscure questions. Yep, she's my girl!